Research shows that dentists are no more or no less likely to develop substance use disorders (alcohol or drug abuse or dependence) than the general population. In other words, 10 to 15 per cent of dentists will have a drug and/or alcohol problem sometime in their lives.
Addiction is a human disease, and some of the people who have it are dentists. The disease of addictions shows no favourites.
However, what is different for dentists and other health care professionals from the general population is the public trust that goes with the privilege to practise, and the responsibility to obey the provincial dental act and controlled substance regulations.
It is the dentist’s paramount duty to ensure the safe treatment of his or her patients. An untreated substance use disorder in a dentist can not only threaten the dentist’s life and family stability, but place patients, and the practice itself, in jeopardy.
We have worked with three centres, all well-known for their work in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery, to create a resource network for Ontario dentists. These centres are Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario, The Farley Center in Williamsburg,Virginia, and the Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
The College is committed to continuing its emphasis on the values of remediation, rehabilitation and support for those dentists who struggle to cope with addiction.
On the Road to Wellness: Dealing with Addiction Disease in Dentistry
The Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation and the Canadian Dental Association sponsored and organized a two-day conference on October 12 and 13, 2012 in Toronto entitled, On the Road To Wellness: Dealing with Addiction Disease in Dentistry.
During the conference, the nearly 80 participants gained a shared knowledge of the science of addiction and a fundamental understanding of its implications for practice and policy. There were wide-ranging roundtable discussions on how to best support the well-being of the single most valuable asset in the nation's oral health care system – the dentist.
The conference report, which includes an executive summary, the conference PowerPoint presentations and handouts, can be downloaded below.
Click here to download the report.