Career satisfaction and work-life balance of specialist orthodontists within the UK/ROI

Key Points

  • This study provides an insight into the career satisfaction and work-life balance of orthodontists in the UK/ROI.

  • The study identified those major factors which significantly affect career satisfaction and work-life balance.

  • Recommendations are made for measures which professional bodies could consider in order to enhance career satisfaction and work-life balance and also to continue to attract people into the profession.


Objectives To investigate factors affecting career satisfaction and work-life balance in specialist orthodontists in the UK/ROI.

Design and setting Prospective questionnaire-based study.

Subjects and methods The questionnaire was sent to specialist orthodontists who were members of the British Orthodontic Society.

Results Orthodontists reported high levels of career satisfaction (median score 90/100). Career satisfaction was significantly higher in those who exhibited: i) satisfaction with working hours; ii) satisfaction with the level of control over their working day; iii) ability to manage unexpected home events; and iv) confidence in how readily they managed patient expectations. The work-life balance score was lower than the career satisfaction score but the median score was 75/100. Work-life balance scores were significantly affected by the same four factors, but additionally were higher in those who worked part-time.

Conclusions Orthodontists in this study were highly satisfied with their career and the majority responded that they would choose orthodontics again. Work-life balance scores were lower than career satisfaction scores but still relatively high. It is important for the profession to consider ways of maintaining, or improving, career satisfaction and work-life balance; including maintaining flexibility of working hours and ensuring that all clinicians have ready access to appropriate training courses throughout their careers (for example, management of patient expectations).

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Zingeser L . Career satisfaction and job satisfaction: What ASHA surveys show. The ASHA Leader 2004; 9: 4–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Kaliski B S . Encyclopaedia of Business and Finance, Second edition. p 446. Detroit: Thompson Gale, 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Robbins S P, Judge T A . Organizational behaviour, Fifteenth edition. Essex, England: Pearson, 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Clark S C . Work/family border theory: A new theory of work/family balance. Human Relations 2000; 53: 747–770.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Korman A K, Mahler S R, Omran K A . Work ethics and satisfaction, alienation, and other reactions. In W B. Walsh and S H. Osipow (Eds.) Handbook of vocational psychology. Vol. 2. pp 181–206. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Friedman S D, Christensen P, DeGroot J . Work and life: The end of the zero-sum game. Harvard Business Review 1998; 76: 119–130.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Mullins J L . Management and organizational behaviour, Ninth edition. Pearson Education Limited: Essex, 317, 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Newton J T, Thorogood N, Gibbons D E . The work patterns of male and female dental practitioners in the United Kingdom. Int Dent J 50: 61–68, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Luzzi L, Spencer A J, Jones K, Teusner D . Job satisfaction of registered dental practitioners. Aust Dent J 2005; 50: 179–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Ayers K M, Thomson W M, Newton J T, Rich A M . Job stressors of New Zealand dentists and their coping strategies. Occup Med 2008; 58: 275–281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Ayers K M, Thomson W M, Rich A M, Newton J T . Gender differences in dentists' working practices and job satisfaction. J Dent 2008; 36: 343–350.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Gilmour J, Stewardson D A, Shugars D A, Burke F J T . An assessment of career satisfaction among a group of general dental practitioners in Staffordshire. Br Dent J 2005; 198: 701–704.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Denton D A, Newton J T, Bower E J . Occupational burnout and work engagement: a national survey of dentists in the United Kingdom. Br Dent J 2008; 205: E13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Oweis Y, Hattar S, Eid R A, Sabra A . Dentistry a second time? Eur J Dent Educ 2012; 16: e10–e18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Roth S F, Heo G, Varnhagen C, Glover K E, Major P W . Job satisfaction among Canadian orthodontists. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop 2003; 123: 695–700.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Roth S F, Heo G, Varnhagen C, Glover K E, Major P W . Occupational stress among Canadian orthodontists. Angle Orthod 2003; 73: 43–50.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Collins J M, Cunningham S J, Moles D R, Galloway J, Hunt N P . Factors which influence working patterns of orthodontists in the United Kingdom. Br Dent J 2009; 207: E1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Collins J M, Hunt N P, Moles D R, Galloway J, Cunningham S J . Changes in the gender and ethnic balance of the United Kingdom orthodontic workforce. Br Dent J 2008; 205: E12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Davidson S, Major P W, Flores-Mir C, Amin M, Keenan L . Women in orthodontics and work-family balance: challenges and strategies. J Can Dent Assoc 2012; 78: c61.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Soma K J, Thomson W M, Morgaine K C, Harding W J . A qualitative investigation of specialist orthodontists in New Zealand: Part I. Orthodontists and orthodontic practice. Aust Orthod J 2012; 28: 2–16.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Soma K J, Thomson W M, Morgaine K C, Harding W J . A qualitative investigation of specialist orthodontists in New Zealand: part 2. Orthodontists' working lives and work-life balance. Aust Orthod J 2012; 28: 170–180.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Bateman L E, Collins J M, Cunningham S J . A qualitative study of work-life balance among specialist orthodontists in the United Kingdom. J Orthod 2016; 43: 288–299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Cook C, Heath F, Thompson R L . A meta-analysis of response rates in web-or internet-based surveys. Educ Psychol Measurement 2000; 60: 821–836.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Leigh J P, Kravitz R L, Schembri M, Samuels S J, Mobley S . Physician career satisfaction across specialties. Arch Int Med 2002; 162: 1577–1584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Leigh J P, Tancredi D J, Kravitz R L . Physician career satisfaction within specialties. BMC Health Serv Res 2009; 9: 166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Van Ham I, Verhoeven A A, Groenier K H, Groothoff J W, De Haan J . Job satisfaction among general practitioners: a systematic literature review. Euro J Gen Pract 2006; 12: 174–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Scott J, Clery E . Gender roles: an incomplete revolution. British social attitudes: the 30th report. pp 115–128. London: NatCen Social Research, 2013.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Many thanks to all of the orthodontists who took the time to complete the questionnaire and without whom this study would not have been possible. We would also like to thank Dr Dirk Bister and Professor Tim Newton for their advice when developing the questionnaire and Ann Wright (BOS) for distribution of the questionnaire and for her assistance in dealing with our questions.

If any readers wish to have a copy of the questionnaire, please contact the authors directly.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. M. Al-Junaid.

Additional information

Refereed Paper

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Al-Junaid, S., Hodges, S., Petrie, A. et al. Career satisfaction and work-life balance of specialist orthodontists within the UK/ROI. Br Dent J 223, 53–58 (2017).

Download citation

Further reading