Dental Staffing

Dental Hygienists: Temps are Needed; What are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

A dentist'st with thier coluge oprating patient mouth.

Let’s face it, the daily practice of dentistry is hard work. I have heard older Dentists state that their back hurts, their shoulders are tired, and they often wonder if their eyes are as good as they used to be. I’ve met Dental Hygienists whose hands, neck and backs are sore and Assistants who feel the same. The average person has no idea how physically taxing the day-to-day grind of Dentistry really is.

This is when the practice owner hires an associate and slows down. Hygienists can still make a terrific income in a part-time position, and I know assistants who tell their doctors they only want to work part-time. Kim is one of those Dental Assistants. Kim is extraordinary Assistant, but recently told her boss she wanted to cut back to a three-day week. She is so valuable, he agreed, but continues to hint at her return to a four-day week. It’s just not going to happen.

Maybe you’ve acquired a medical condition that has forced you to work less. Maybe you’re new to an area and want to get your feet wet before taking a permanent position. Maybe you want to work, but your kids come first, and you want to be there for them as they grow up. Whatever the reason, maybe you’re tired and you want to slow down, so why work on a regular schedule at all?

Why not work just when you want to work? Why not try putting yourself out there as a Dental Temporary? Becoming a temporary has a lot of advantages, and some disadvantages, at least in the beginning. Here’s the deal: When you temp there’s an initial period when you’re not well known and not working as much. Know this going in and prepare for it. It’s a little like real estate; there are busy, lucrative times and quiet periods in the market. As time goes on, if you’re good at what you do, you’ll develop a rhythm that becomes comfortable.

But there are many advantages…

  • Dental Hygiene Temps are coveted! When patients are scheduled, production is lost without a Temp!
  • Sometimes (a lot of the time?!) there’s a lot of drama in dental offices. When you come in as a temporary you don’t have get caught up in the drama. You’ll come in, do your job, and go home.
  • You can name your fee and walk out at the end of your workday with a check.
  • If your day is planned and you get a call, you can decline. Work as little or as much as you want.
  • You basically work for yourself, so there are tax advantages to temping.
  • You’ll work at a variety of practices, and this works well for those who enjoy variety.

But there are disadvantages as well…

  • You are essentially self-employed; make sure you are protected under the practice’s Worker’s Comp Insurance. If you’re not, you’ll need some.
  • If you are a Dental Hygienist, you will need your own Malpractice Insurance.
  • Work is not guaranteed; the good news is once you establish a sound reputation, calls will come.
  • You will still have calls to work in those difficult practices; the good news is you don’t have to take the work unless you need the income.
  • There are no benefits; remember, you’re self-employed!
  • You usually don’t form any permanent relationships because you’re not there every day.

Let’s say you’re interested in becoming a Dental Temp, but you’re not sure where to start. Start by developing your profile and placing your resume on, indicate you are interested in temping only and there’s no charge to you. If you have any questions, contact us at Be sure to read my article “Why Your Dental Practice Needs to Plan Ahead for Temporary Staffing”.  Most Dental Practices don’t think about planning for a temp until it’s an emergency.




“Everyone enjoys doing the kind of work
for which he is best suited”
- Napoleon Hill