I recently contributed to a Becker’s Dental Review article. They wanted my input on why Dental Hygienists were not returning to the dental field.
Here is what I wrote.
Holli Perez. Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of DirectDental: Prior to 2020, the dental field was already suffering from a shortage of hygienists. The pandemic definitely exacerbated it. Not only did many hygienists leave the field completely, but the hygienists that continued to work are putting their health and families before their careers. The hygienists that are willing to work won’t work more than three days a week.
Reasons why they are leaving the workforce or working part-time:
- Their health — many don’t feel comfortable returning to work either due to COVID-19, the vaccine mandate or just their mental health.
- They decided to stay at home with their kids — several hygienists I have spoken with haven’t returned to work or returned their children to school. They are now homeschooling them.
- Left the operatory — many found careers outside of dentistry or stayed in dental but either started their own business or broke into sales.
- Retired early — a huge amount of my hygienists simply retired.
It is predicted that dental practices are going to continue to struggle with hiring hygienists for years to come, which means offices should:
- Offer pay above the average rate and post that at the top of the job listing.
- If you need to hire someone for three or more days a week, try splitting it between two or more hygienists.
- Offer benefits to your hygienists.
- When you get an applicant, call and text them right away.
- Have a fast hiring process; don’t let another office scoop them up.
- Work with your local schools and recruiters.
If you are struggling to hire a dental hygienist, contact me. I am more than happy to help!