Hygienists – Get paid more without requesting a raise

by | May 22, 2024 | Dental Hygienists, Work Life | 0 comments

Being a dental hygienist is extremely rewarding but also challenging.  And in most cases, being a hygienist isn’t our only passion. We have families to care for, places to travel to, side hustles to build, and so many other things!  The beauty of being a hygienist is the flexibility of our schedules. Hygienists usually have 3 or 4 day work week, with long weekends to enjoy our passions.  

With that being said, when working we should be doing everything we can to maximize our pay.  If you are like most hygienists, you probably received a raise in the last year or so. But life is expensive, so if you find that you need additional funds, here are some great ways to have your doctor pay you more, without asking for a raise. These also, help the doctor bring in additional money to the practice. And a smart dentist should be open to paying you more if you are bringing in more money.   

Here are 5 ways to get your dentist to pay you more money without asking for a raise.  

#1 Oral Cancer Screenings 

The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers in the United States for 2024 are:

  • About 58,450 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer
  • About 12,230 deaths from oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer

And the scary part about Oral Cancer is that in its early stages it can go completely undetected.  Offering these screenings to your patients can be a matter of life and death.  

Most dental practices charge $35 to $65 per test.  And, if you get your doctor to agree to pay you $10 per test, that can be an extra $1 to $10/hr depending on how many tests you do per day.  

#2 Hitting and exceeding hygiene production goals

When your schedule has SRPs on it or you have patients that are double-booked, you are working harder, but for what?  To keep you motivated, your doctor should share that extra cash with you.  

Talk with your doctor about what your daily hygiene production expectations are.  If he says $2500 a day, reply that you want a percentage of anything beyond that. I have seen offices offer their hygienists 30% of all collections beyond their daily goals. 

So if your goal is $2500 and you have a production day (assuming all is collected on) of $3300 at 30% that is an extra $240 for that day OR an extra $30/hr!

#3 Laser Bacterial Reduction

LBR is a great way to help your patients in their oral health.  For those patients who you feel will benefit make sure they are aware of why they need it.  Most offices charge $125 to $200.  

Work with your dentist to give you a cut, if you get your patients to move forward with treatment.

#4 Commission on Products

If you are truly educating your patients on their oral health, they are most likely going to want to leave with some products.  Whether that be a certain brand of toothpaste, MI paste, or an Oral B toothbrush that you recommend, you should be rewarded for your efforts.  

Chat with your doctor about receiving a percentage OR agree upon a flat rate per product.  

#5 Reviews

By far, you as hygienists have the strongest fan base in the office. I only go to my dentist because of my hygienist and if she left, I would find her and follow her. And I know your patients feel the same way. Tell your dentist you want a small kickback ($5) every time a patient writes a review with your name in it.

Then start asking all your patients for reviews and watch the money start rolling in.

Get your doctor on board

Now, getting your doctor to agree will require some negotiation, and you are going to use the same techniques as if you were asking for a raise

The biggest thing is letting him know you want to be apart of the solution. Running a dental practice is expensive and you want to help him bring in extra funds, treatment and new patients and you are presenting them with 4 amazing ways to do that.

If your doctor doesn’t agree to any of these ideas, but you still need to make more money, temping on your days off is a great way to bring in more income. Head to DirectDental, build your profile and start temping today! 

Never worked as a Temp Hygienist? Read these: 

The Joy of Temping
How to Dental Temp like a Pro


Holli Perez 

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