This confirms the American Dental Association’s assertion that most dentists work a four day work week.
Just 5% of the dentist respondents work 6-7 days a week, while 29% work 5 days a week, and 16% work 3 days or less.
“I began booking smarter and trying to consolidate unfilled time into blocks usable for business work and time off for support staff. We have hygiene hours Tuesday – Friday so we book doctor time on those days first, then go back to fill doctor time on Monday if there is a need. Otherwise, I have all day Monday for paperwork and research.” wrote a Massachusetts dentist.
When asked how many hours a week they work, most dentist responses split between 30 and 35 hours per week, with a minority working for more than 45 hours per week.
We received some very interesting feedback from dentists about their work week since the economy tanked 5 years ago in this Dentist Work Schedule survey. Here are some highlights:
“I pack it all into 4 days. Started 17 years ago and I never looked back.” (General dentist)
“I’ve been working more hours partly because of economy and partly due to decreases in contractual reimbursements from Delta Dental of Washington. Have had no fee increases from Delta in past three years and they reduced our reimbursements 15%. If you consider that overhead is probably around 70%, this 15% decrease represents about a 35% decrease in my net income from my practice.” (Washington dentist)
“I’d like to work more, but this economy (i.e. lower patient volume) has allowed me to compress my practice into a non-hectic, 4 – 4.5 day work week.” (Illinois dentist)
“Actually, I am taking more time off from work. Daily production average is down even with less days worked. Since I’m 61 and have my health, I am going to visit the national parks and spend time with my wife enjoying extra time together.” (General dentist)
“I now find it necessary to work on Fridays at another clinic. My own practice has slowly declined in production since 2008.” (Texas dentist)
“I have cut down from 4 days a week to 3. It consolidates the patients I see to make fuller work days and it cuts down what I have to pay my staff for not being productive. We implemented the 3 day week for the summer, however all in the practice like it, and if we need to we add a day occasionally. It has not affected the practice income.” (General dentist)
“Working less with economy change. I now alternate working 3 days 1 week and four the next. I have either 3 or 4 day weekend every week. Loving it! Income down some but life is better.” (Illinois dentist)
“32 hours for seeing patients. Has been the same for several years. The economy has not changed that. I do spend another 4 to 10 hours each week on administrative tasks though.” (General dentist)
“Plan to cut to 3 days to reduce expenses in this economy.” (Texas orthodontist)
“I’ve been keeping the hours tighter and trying to be available earlier or later on some days to help accommodate our patients.” (New Jersey dentist)
“I’ve been working additional hours in husband’s medical company — sales.” (General dentist)
“The economy has not really affected us. We have been lucky and have pretty much stayed the same.” (California dentist)
“I am doing mostly hygiene. Don’t need a hygienist. I’d only see patients for operative, C&B, endo, dentures, etc. 4 of the 10 hrs listed and much of that is charity. Haven’t seen any change in patient volume in past 2 years.” (Nevada dentist)
“I’ve tried to be more flexible with my office hours to accommodate patients’ work schedules.” (North Carolina oral surgeon)
“The economy has not changed my work week.” (California dentist)
The ADA reports that in 2010, the average earnings for a general practitioner who owns his/her practice earned over $194,000 and the average earnings for a dental specialist was over $311,000 with an average work week of 35 hours.
How many days a week are you putting in at your dental practice?
Has the economy changed your hours and income? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.