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Top five health risks preventing dentists from working

3 min
Mature male dentist sitting on dentist chair

Adam Thompson, Specialist Financial Adviser from Wesleyan Financial Services, shares recent research revealing the most common ailments that forced dentists to a make claim for income protection from Wesleyan in 2022…

A spotlight has rightfully been shone on health and well-being in recent years, both physically and mentally.

For those working in the healthcare sector, there is an even greater focus, particularly with heightened patient waiting lists and regulation of dental practices, both creating an environment of stress which can then impact areas of mental and physical health.

When it comes to dental professionals, after a 59% increase in claims compared to 2021, we have seen a specific pattern of claims that stand out from all combined occupations that it may be worth being aware of to protect your financial stability:

The resurgence of COVID

It is perhaps unsurprising that COVID has taken the top spot, particularly after it was estimated by the Office for National Statistics in November 2022 that over two million people are currently experiencing symptoms of long COVID.*

A staggering 40% of claims made by dentists to Wesleyan in 2022 were COVID related, compared to just 24% for combined occupations. It also marks a significant increase against findings from the previous year, where COVID accounted for just 15% of claims.

The physical strain in practice

Year after year, musculoskeletal issues feature highly on the list of common injuries that prevent dentists from practising. In 2022, this figure makes up 28% of the profession’s income protection claims from Wesleyan, down only slightly from 30% in 2021.

This type of claim consistently sits higher than combined occupations, which in 2022 sat at just 21%, posing the question – is there a more preventative approach that may support dental professionals with the physical strains of practising dentistry?

The head and the heart

Being covered for both mental and cardiovascular illness has also been highlighted, both respectively accounting for 6% of claims. Interestingly when focussing on mental health, dentists made significantly lower claims when compared to combined occupations at 18%.

What this doesn’t necessarily signify, however, is that the profession is not facing equal mental health challenges. In fact, it has been widely reported that the opposite is likely to be the case.**

One potential explanation could be that dentists feel unable to take the time to recuperate – which could be for multiple reasons, including concern for the impact on patients, as well as the financial implications or lack of confidence that they are adequately covered.

The roundoff

To close the top five, tumours/malignancy accounted for 4% of claims for dentists in 2022 compared to 15% in 2021. It also sits lower than combined occupations at 13%.

Are you confident you’re adequately covered?

Each year one million workers find themselves unable to work due to illness or injury according to a report from the Association of British Insurers.

From a financial planning perspective, income protection forms the keystone to a self-employed dentist’s financial security. It’s a safety net to help you recuperate without additional stress and pressure when you are unable to work and are facing the financial risks associated with losing your regular income.

If you already have income protection, it’s worth asking yourself and, perhaps more importantly, your insurance provider about the likeliness of being covered should you need to make claims like those highlighted above and ensure the cover is specific to your occupation as a dentist, which is vital.

Speak to a specialist

Need help reviewing or putting in place income protection that’s right for a career in dentistry? You can speak to a Specialist Financial Adviser from Wesleyan Financial Services as part of a no-obligation financial review.

* Office for National Statistics

** British Dental Association

About the author
Adam Thompson
Adam Thompson

Specialist Financial Adviser at Wesleyan Financial Services

Adam is a Chartered Financial Planner and provides specialist financial advice for dentists and dental professionals in Berkshire and North London. He’s worked in financial services since 2002 and has been with Wesleyan since 2010. Adam can advise on all financial areas, and his expertise includes retirement planning for dentists and the NHS Pension Scheme, alongside inheritance tax planning and investment planning.

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