Monday, December 6, 2010

Dental Suicide!

The odds that that a Dentist will commit Suicide in a given year are approximately 1 in 1,250 (0.08%)

We've all heard the 'fact' that dentists have the highest rate of suicide for a profession but is it true? Yes, yes it is. Why? Well after some extensive research and number crunching I'll try to break it down for you with a mix of actual evidence & my own harebrained theories.
Have you ever met a little kid who REALLY wanted to be a Dentist when they grew up? No. No you haven't because all children (and most adults) hate the dentist. And doesn't that suck to go to work every day trying to help people's oral hygiene while knowing most patients hate being there and you make kids cry? Not much positive reinforcement which probably wears on you.
If so few kids aspire to Dental fame, who becomes a dentist? I don't know but I imagine it's a pretty repressed group; The people who give up on their dreams for the safe steady paycheck. If you 'settled' for being a dentist and regret it, that's gotta eat at you.
The overwhelming majority of dentists are also white males which happens to be the demographic most prone to suicide. It also seems a pretty lonely job but who knows.
Finally, they have the means. Even though they don't seem to get as much respect or appreciation as a veterinarian, they did go to school and have access to all sorts of things. The rest is very dependent on mental health and individual tendency but these are huge red flags.
All those factors taken together put dentists at a much higher risk than average. Still, 0.08% seems pretty small huh? Well, when the average rate is about 0.017%, that makes dentists ~5x MORE likely to off themselves than a random person. Which is a lot so- brush your teeth, floss, and don't be an asshole to your dentist. Thanks.