8 Must Dos for Dental Team Retention

by | May 22, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

This weeks post comes to you from Smile Source. They are the largest private dental practice network with the goal to band together private practices to enjoy the same buying power and collaboration that the bigger companies enjoy.  With over 1100s of dentists across 725 dental practices they are doing just that!

Here is what they have to say about employee retention.

Many open positions on dental teams went unfilled in 2023. You’ve heard of colleagues being in this situation, or maybe you experienced it. Because worrying about worst-case scenarios and how to hold on to their staff is draining their energy and their practice success is on the line, dentists are eager to know what is in their control to do. What are the best retention practices? 

The ongoing encouragement and advice of our networked Smile Source members are helping each other. However, we thought we would share best-practice retention insights from DentalPost.net’s most recent dental team salary survey – the largest annual survey to understand dental professional compensation trends, job satisfaction, and job turnover.

What happened in 2022 and 2023?

The post-pandemic labor shortage fueled workers’ demand for higher wages across all industries, including dentistry. A high percentage of dental team members changed employers due to pandemic-related family relocation and for better commutes, income, benefits, and work environments. Open positions were abundant, making this possible.

In 2022, 16.5% of dental practice staff turned over, and in 2023, 19% turned over (DentalPost.net). The top two motivations cited by respondents to DentalPost’s survey in Q3 of 2023 were higher income and a better work environment. 

Private practices thrive on personal relationships, so front desk and clinical team longevity play a significant role in patient retention and growth.

The following recommended actions (things you can do that are in your control) focus on the top two factors influencing dental employee job decisions: compensation and work environment.

Must Do #1: Pay above average.

To feel their services are valued, dental employees need to be paid above average. That’s the advice of human resource experts.

The individual employees in your dental practice may know more about what other dental practices in your state are paying for their position than you do. They watch job listings, apply for jobs, speak with hirers, speak with colleagues, and read available data from multiple sources (e.g., DentalPost, Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Indeed, and U.S. financial news media).

DentalPost’s data is primarily from private practices like yours (88%) and there were thousands of respondents during the months of August-October 2023, so you may want to read this recent wage and salary data

#2: Catch up with (and exceed) the rise in cost of living.

According to DentalPost data, the average reported income increase in 2023 was 5% or more for 63% of dental professionals. If the cost of living in your area has increased by 3.4% (as it did in much of the nation in 2023), make sure your wages and salaries increase by at least 3.4% in 2024, and realize dental workers are seeking jobs that will pay them even higher.

If you have not given each employee a performance review and pay increase within the last 12 months, you are overdue to do so. Don’t wait for your employee to quietly quit and move to a higher-paying office.

#3: Consider whether your employee benefits are competitive.

DentalPost has been tracking benefits trends for the past three years. Most private dental practices provide some benefits and the percentages of workers receiving standard employee benefits like paid time off, retirement, medical, dental, and vision have been growing. 

Adding one or more benefits can make a difference in maintaining employee satisfaction with their compensation. Smile Source members have the advantage of many free CE opportunities for their teams. They also have the advantage of our Smile Source vendor relationships for implementing low-cost group insurance plans. Make use of these resources to expand your benefits.

There is so much more great info in this article. Click the button above to keep reading.


Holli Perez 

DirectDental- How it works for Dental Professionals
DirectDental- How it works for Dental Offices
DirectDental Home Page