Dental Practice Management Also Part of a Dentist’s Work Week

Dental time managementThe average dentist in this survey reports working 35 hours a week over an average of five days.

It’s important to note that dentists spend their work time on two very different tasks: treating dental patients and attending to dental practice management.

“When I cut back to 4 days per week 15 years ago, my income went up not down!” exclaimed one dentist. “I’m working less now due to the recession,” sighed another.

Here are some further dentist comments:

  • “Don’t work longer…work smarter.” (Connecticut periodontist)
  • “When I can work 3 days per week and make the same or more as in 4 days, that is a no-brainer!” (Florida dentist)
  • “I’m working 3 days a week due to the recession.” (Canada dentist)
  • “Hours are not as productive as before the financial crisis.” (Oregon dentist)
  • “More days if you count business admin and weekend dental CE travel.” (Florida pediatric dentist)
  • “I work about 48 hours over 6 days. About half of this is clinical, half administrative.” (Georgia orthodontist)
  • “32 hours seeing patients, but 8 more doing management type work.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “4 days clinical, and one day for administrative and professional ‘errands.'” (Rhode Island dentist)
  • “I work 5 days, but I’d like to work 3 days/week.” (New York dentist)
  • “I really want to just work part-time, but I haven’t figured out how yet.” (California dentist)
  • “I work far too long hours!” (Australia dentist)

Read more: Dentists Work an Average of 35 Hours a Week

Dentists Report Working 4 Days a Week in Dentist Survey

Dentists Report Working 4 Days a Week in Dentist SurveyResults of a dentist survey taken by The Wealthy Dentist revealed that 48% of the dentists work 4 days a week at their dental practice.

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.

Dentists Work an Average of 35 Hours a Week

Dentists Work an Average of 35 Hours a WeekDentists spend their work time on two very different tasks: treating dental patients and attending to dental practice management.

How much time they spend on each of these tasks determines the number of hours dentists work each week.

The ADA reports that dentists work an average of 35 hours a week and another 3 hours managing their dental practice.

But for some dentists, the economic reality of the last four years has been a harsh wake-up call. “With the new economy, I needed to start opening on Fridays and take what I could get,” wrote one dentist in a The Wealthy Dentist survey.

Other dentists have been forced to reduce their hours as a result of the slow economy. “I’m working 3 days a week due to the recession,” sighed a Canadian dentist. “Hours are not as productive as before the financial crisis,” agreed an Oregon dentist. “Many who have lost their jobs and insurance want a ton of work done before the insurance goes away and want me to finance what the insurance doesn’t pay.”

To hear more of what dentists had to say about the hours they work, Click on Play to watch the following video —


How many hours a week are you working at your dental practice? Has it changed over the last four years?

Leave a comment and let us know.


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