Presidents Message

On behalf of the Lehigh Valley Dental Society, I hope you and your loved ones are doing well as we enter into the full swing of the fall season. Over the last few months it has been clear that wellness in the dental profession has taken a back seat to other concerns. It is easy to forget to take care of ourselves as we try our best to keep our personal and professional lives afloat.

By now I was hoping to attend more in-person meetings and interact on a more personal level with fellow colleagues. I thrive on these interactions. However, the “Zoom burnout” is hitting me like a ton of bricks. As the Vice-Chair of the ADA New Dentist Committee, I loathe the line on my calendar that reads “2-hour New Dentist Zoom Call” knowing that I will be staring at my computer screen rather than shaking hands and enjoying the company of others. I know that these calls are important though, and there will be dentists and students leaning on my committee for help in the upcoming months.

In the many discussions I have had with fellow dentists and students over Zoom and online message boards, there is an obvious concern with wellness—mental, physical, and financial. Of course, these are all significant concerns as we head into the colder months when there is likely to be a COVID-19 and flu surge. There are so many stressors out there, and many are unforeseen. Make time for yourself, and make time to reach out to others who may need guidance or support.

While talking with students and residents, it’s clear there is a fear of not being prepared once they are finished at dental school. The requirements for graduation have been reduced severely to simply have students finish on time. The number of patients seen in respective clinics has gone down due to guidelines and fears of COVID-19. Let us not forget there is an incredible debt taken on by these students as well. The need for residency programs or AEGD programs for these students has never been more important. We need to help these students and residents as they join our ranks as dental professionals.

I constantly lean on others when it comes to my own wellness and have learned much from mentors, seasoned dentists, new dentists, and students alike. It’s hard to watch people thrive while many of us may struggle. Let us lean on each other and do our best to succeed together in this wild time we live in. Remember to take time for yourselves and stay physically active. I personally have gotten into the “all trails” app, and have discovered many new hikes within the Lehigh Valley! Stay positive whenever possible, and remember we heal together.


Seth Walbridge