Dentistry Tops List of Most Dangerous Jobs

Business Insider has ranked dentistry as one of the most dangerous professions for your health, for multiple years in a row. In their most recent report, dentist was listed as the second most dangerous out of 32 occupations—outranking firefighters, mine shuttle car operators, and nuclear equipment operation technicians. Dental laboratory technicians, dental hygienists, prosthodontists, and dental assistants took the first, third, fourth, and seventh spots, respectively.[1]

The report looked at seven high exposure factors, including exposure to contaminants; exposure to disease or infections; exposure to hazardous conditions; exposure to hazardous equipment; exposure to minor burns, cuts, bits or stings; exposure to radiation; and time spent sitting. Dentistry’s highest risk factors were exposure to disease of infections, exposure to radiation, and time spent sitting.

In addition, dentists are uniquely susceptible to musculoskeletal conditions (such as degenerative disc disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, and osteoarthritis) due to the demands of the profession. Over time, these physical demands can eventually lead to chronic and slowly progressive conditions that may result in a dentist becoming disabled for some portion of their career.  In fact, one study listed musculoskeletal disorders as the top reason that dentists leave the profession early.[2]

Given these risks of the trade, dentists should review their disability policies carefully and have a transition plan in place well before filing a claim to ensure they do not unwittingly jeopardize their ability to collect benefits. If you are a dentist considering filing a claim, an experienced disability insurance attorney can help you understand the terms of your policy and apply it to your particular situation.


[1] Andy Kiersz, The 32 most dangerous jobs for your health, Business Insider, March 8, 2019.

[2] Anshul Gupta, Ergonomics in Dentistry, International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, 2014 Jan – Apr; 7(1): 30-34.

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