Dentists are facing difficulties in recruiting dental team members during recovery


Roughly one-third of dental practices are recruiting dental assistants and one-quarter are recruiting hygienists, but dentists indicate that recruitment has been challenging, according to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s latest data from a poll conducted the week of Oct. 5.

This poll result and other findings were shared in a webinar available on YouTube. The webinar also covered issues related to office recovery, employees and vaccinations at dental offices.

The Oct. 5 results included data about:

• Recovery: As of the week of Oct. 5, 99% of dental offices in the U.S. were open and patient volume was estimated at 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Staffing was at 93% of pre-COVID-19 levels. These values have been roughly unchanged for several weeks and suggest a steady state of economic activity in dental offices.      • Dentists are hiring: Dental service organization-affiliated practices and large groups are recruiting more heavily than non-DSO and solo practices.
• Recruitment is a challenge: Recruiting dental team members is challenging. Among dentists hiring for any position (i.e., hygienists, assistants, administrative staff or dentists), the majority report that it has been extremely or very challenging compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 80% reported it was extremely or very challenging to recruit hygienists, and roughly 70% said the same for assistants.
• Patients are willing to get vaccinated at the dental office: Consumers are open to the idea of vaccination at the dental office as part of their dental visit. If an annual flu shot could be incorporated into a routine dental visit, the majority of consumers report they would be interested in that option. If a COVID-19 vaccine were available and patients could get the vaccine at their dentist’s office during their appointment, the majority would be interested.

The HPI launched a biweekly tracking poll to measure the economic impact of COVID-19 on dental practices on March 23.. The latest wave of this poll received nearly 3,000 responses.

All previous webinars are available on the ADA YouTube channel. Subscribe to receive information on new videos as they are released.