What Dentists Have to Say About Dental Hygiene Clinics (video)

What Dentists Have to Say About Dental Hygiene Clinics (video)Across the U.S., lawmakers are approving the licensing of independent dental practice hygienists in states where it appears that the public needs greater access to dental care.

But independent dental hygiene clinics are a controversial approach to dental care.

Dental hygienists may love the idea, but dentists just aren’t sold on the concept.

The Wealthy Dentist decided to conduct a survey to ask dentists if they’ve ever seen a successful, private, independent dental hygiene clinic.

One New York prosthodontist wrote, “Bad for the public, good for hygienists. How much are we willing to give up? We are health care providers — not just a good business model!”

To hear what other dentists had to say about dental hygiene clinics, Click on Play to watch the following short video —

What are your thoughts on dental hygiene clinics? Do you believe that they can be a success?

Dental Hygienists Among the Fastest Growing Occupations in the U.S.

Occupational Outlook: Dental Hygienists Among the Fastest Growing Occupations in the U.S.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for 2008-2018, employment among dental assistants is expected to grow by 36 percent during the 10-year period, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the US economy, half are related to healthcare.

Healthcare is experiencing rapid growth, due in large part to the aging of the baby-boom generation, which will require more medical care. As healthcare costs continue to rise, work is increasingly being delegated to lower paid workers in order to cut costs.

For example, tasks that were previously performed by dentists are now beginning to be performed by dental hygienists and dental assistants.

As dentists‘ workloads continue to increase from treating the aging boomer population, it is expected that the demand to hire more hygienists to perform preventive dental care will grow as dentists will want to spend more time working on more complex dental procedures.

There is also the growing situation of not enough dentists to provide adequate care in rural areas where hygienists are needed to fill in the gap. According to the Center for Rural Affairs, in 2007, approximately 15 percent of rural residents were 65 years of age or older, 25 percent greater than in the nation as a whole.

The U.S. population of those 65 or older is predicted to double by 2030, reaching 20 percent of the U.S. total population, and the fastest group age living in rural America are residents 85 and older.

The average median wage for dental hygienists is $32.81 hourly, $68,250 annually with the best employment opportunities following the population size of states. New York, Texas, California, Michigan and Florida employ the most dental hygienists.

See: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition — Dental Hygienists

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

Dental Hygienists Get Paid Better than Some Dentists Wish! (video)

Hygienist pay ratesDentists report paying their dental hygienists about $36 per hour, according to this poll. Many dentists expressed resentment over the high price tag of a dental hygienist.

Location is highly correlated with hourly base pay, with urban California hygienists being paid twice as much as their rural Southern counterparts.

Read more: How much dental hygienists get paid

Sour Candies: “Like Eating Battery Acid”

Sour candy damages teeth These days, our drugs are stronger, our cars faster, and our computers more powerful. And, true to form, today’s candy is even more devastating to tooth enamel than in days gone by.

The California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) recently issued a public warning to parents about the Halloween dangers of sour candies, many of which apparently as acidic as battery acid. The acid content of these candies can damage teeth even more than the sugar of traditional candies.

They also advise minimizing one’s risk by rinsing with water after consuming sour candies. However, it’s important not to brush your teeth immediately! The acid softens tooth enamel, and brushing soft enamel is likely to do more harm than good.

Read more


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