Dental practice has been considered to be the most stressful of the health care professions. Increasingly dentists in general practice seem to experience more physical and mental ill health compared with other health professionals and this has been recognised to be a consequence of occupational stress. Occupational stress has been related to changes in clinical dental practice with many of the perceived causes being within the dentist's own control. Since dentists are faced daily with these potential occupational stressors one way of controlling stress is through its recognition. This paper highlights experiences common to all those in dental practice as a first step in reducing occupational stress.