Bellevue Dentists at Brookside Dental, Bellevue, WA, still have a strong demand for dental hygiene in their cosmetic dental spa. However, Dental Practice Marketing and Management Blog had a post by Julie Frey, February 9th, 2010, that stated One family dentist in three has cut their the working hours for their dental hygienists, because the slow economy is leaving less demand for dental hygiene services. Another 11% have reduced the number of dental hygienists they employ, and 5% have cut compensation.
How much hygienists are paid is an important decision for each dental office. "Upon doing a practice analysis, we found we overpaid our hygienist," said one dentist. "We paid out more in hourly wages plus benefits than we collected!" Another dentist stated, “Instead of any pay raises, we put our hygienists on a bonus system based on achieving a minimum daily production." “Hygiene is the fuel that feeds the fire," said one dentist in California. It is important to keep the hygiene recall system up to date and working well.
Although many dentists have indicated problems with keeping their hygiene schedules full, not all dentists are having similarly poor results with dental hygiene. Here’s more of what dentists have had to say about hygienists and appointments:
- "Hygiene at our office, which has a dentist and a prosthodontist, has remained strong throughout this economy. We are very thankful." (Ohio Dentist)
- “Our hygienist was paid salary and now she is paid hourly," said one doctor.
- “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 later into the year. Others 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 tooth cleaning.”
- "If things slow down more, I will cut my dental hygentist days or time and do the dental hygiene myself.” (New York dentist) New dentists usually do their own hygiene cleanings.
- “They (the hygienists) have to take on more responsibility.” (Massachusetts dentist)
- “We have a very periodontal oriented office. A lot of our patients that need three or four cleanings per year 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 our profits were slightly up.” (Pennsylvania dentist)