This disease of addiction shows no favourites. Dentists as well as other health professionals are susceptible to this disease just as they are to other diseases that plague mankind.
Evidence gathered from well-designed studies over the past 30 years or more has shown unequivocally that addiction is a chronic disease. The good news is that treatment is highly successful with a recovery rate up to 90 per cent.
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.
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 partnered with Homewood Health Centre to launch an addiction treatment program tailor-made for dental professionals that will ensure those who are addicted have quick access to effective treatment. Learn more about this partnership.
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.