Dentists Cut Hours of Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienistsOne dentist in three has cut their dental hygienist working hours, with the slow economy leaving less demand for dental hygiene services.

Another 11% have reduced the number of dental hygienists they employ, and 5% have cut compensation.

“Hygiene is the fuel that feeds the fire,” said a California dentist.

How much hygienists are paid is an important dental management decision. “Upon doing a practice analysis, we found we overpaid our hygienist by $13,000,” said one dentist. “We paid more in hourly plus benefits than we collected!”

“Our hygienist was paid salary and now she is paid hourly,” said one doctor. Offered another, “Instead of any raises, we put our hygienists on a bonus system based on achieving a minimum daily production.”

Here’s more of what dentists had to say on hygienists and tooth cleaning appointments:

  • “Hygiene at our office, which has a dentist and a prosthodontist, has remained strong throughout this economy. We are very thankful.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We have not cut hours, but we have worked very hard at activating past due patients, with good success.” (General dentist)
  • “We have at least two cancellations in hygiene daily. Most tell us to reschedule their dental cleaning later into the year. Other simply say they are not coming.” (Bermuda dentist)
  • “Hygiene is the one aspect of the practice that hasn’t shown lower numbers. I’m glad we instituted a good recall systems several years ago.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “We are seeing more no-shows, and some people are wanting to wait a year instead of 6 months for their next dentist cleaning.” (Dental hygenist)
  • “If things slow down more, I will cut my dental hygentist days or time and do the dental hygiene myself.” (New York dentist)
  • “They have to take on more responsibility.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “We have a very periodontal oriented office. A lot of our patients are switching themselves to twice a year for teeth cleaning. They only want what the dental insurance will cover.” (Utah dental office worker)
  • “The gross receipts were down about 1% last year, but the profits were slightly up.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Read more about dental practice management: Dental Hygienists – How the Recession Affects the Dentist

About Julie Frey

+Julie Frey is the Editor of blog. She has dedicated her career to Internet marketing and communications, working side-by-side with dental marketing guru Jim Du Molin since 2006. She has a degree in Linguistics from Stanford University, has a passion for language and writing, and lives in San Francisco.


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