Dentists are increasing pay and benefits for staff but recruitment for dental assistants and hygienists remains difficult.

While dentists’ confidence in economic recovery is decreasing, the majority have offered pay raises for their dental hygienists and dental assistants in the last year, according to the latest report from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute.

Roughly 8 out of 10 surveyed dentists have issued raises for their dental hygienists and dental assistants within the past year. Recent wage increases have most commonly been in the 4-6% range.

Dentists have also been offering more benefits to employees. The most common benefits are dental benefits, paid vacation, paid holidays and retirement savings. Fewer than half of dentists provide health insurance for their employees. One in five offers paid leave.

Despite increased pay and benefits, dental team recruitment needs have not eased up. Around 40% of dentists had recently or were currently recruiting dental assistants and dental hygienists in June. Recruiting dental hygienists continues to be the most challenging for dentists.

Dentists’ confidence in economic recovery continues to slide. Only 16% of dentists had confidence in the U.S. recovery in June, down from 22% in May.

Dentists were also less confident in a recovery of their own practice with 56.9% expressing confidence compared to 65% in May.

While dentists feel that the broader economy is in an unstable state, appointment schedules remained steady, with dentists reporting an 86% full schedule, roughly the same as in May and up more than 9% over January 2022.

These findings are from the latest wave of HPI’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll conducted June 14-19, 2022.

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