How Dental Locums Benefit Dental Practices

by Patricia O. Urquiaga | Apr 05, 2021 | dentallocums, dentalorganizations, dentalpractices, DentalProfession, DentalStaffing, dentalstaffinggaps, dentistryjobs, locumdentists, locumtenensdentistryjobs, locumtenensdentists
How Dental Locums Benefit Dental Practices

The Dental Profession Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental profession is expected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029.

Furthermore, the demand for dental services is increasing due to the current population aging and research linking oral health to your overall health.

As we can see, the need for dentists including locum tenens dentists remains high.

COVID-19: Dental Practice Challenges

Despite the growth and demand the dental industry is facing, for dental practices to be successful in this “new norm”, they must be willing to adapt and find ways to overcome everyday challenges that come with COVID-19.

One major challenge is dental staffing. Finding the right, qualified dental candidates within a decent amount of time isn’t as easy as it seems. As a result, being understaffed causes dental practices to lose revenue and being improperly staffed can turn out to be costly.

Another challenge dental practices are facing is being able to rebuild and return to maximum capacity. According to the American Dentist Association (ADA), only 21.7% of general dental practices reported a return to full patient volume in October 2020.

So how do you determine the productivity of your dental practice in order to build or expand your team?

Forecasting this during COVID-19 times is difficult. Every day is going to look different for dental practices, but one thing we know is that these two factors have an impact on the practice’s expenses.

Therefore, one strategic way to remain open and to maintain your bottom line is by leveraging dental locums.

You might be asking yourself two questions:

  • Why are dental practices leveraging locum dentists?
  • And why are dental professionals grasping this emerging practice style?

Before addressing these questions, lets understand who locum tenens dentists are. 

Who Are Locum Tenens Dentists?

Locum tenens dentists (or traveling dentist) are defined as a dentist professional that fills in for other dentist temporarily when dental practices are facing dental staffing shortages due to vacancies, illness, death, vacations, maternity/paternity leave etc.

In certain occasions, locum tenens dentist might become a permanent replacement.

How Do Dental Locums Help Fill Your Dental Staffing Gaps?

There are many benefits to locum dentists – both on the employee and employer side.

More and more dentists are considering locum tenens dentistry jobs because of the freedom, flexibility and untapped earning potential that comes with the jobs.

As a locum tenens dentist, you’ll also benefit from:

  • Short or long-term dental jobs
  • Travel opportunities
  • Clinical experience (various locations and healthcare organizations)
  • Malpractice insurance being provided etc.

Dental practices on the other hand, are using dental locums primarily to continue running their daily activities/operations smoothly when permanent dentists are away or when unplanned leaves of absence occur.

Most importantly, locum dentists help dental practices have stability – by keeping a practice near or at full production, maintaining revenue streams. Additionally, they help sustain patient care, which is crucial in dental offices.

When it comes to locum tenens dentistry trends, it very much mimics supply and demand patterns in physician staffing. In fact, according to Dentistry IQ, during the last 12 months, locum tenens physicians have been utilized by 72% of hospitals and other medical groups. While locum tenens dentists are a rising trend that continues to be driven by the shortage of dentists, should these patterns continue to hold, locum dentistscould play a larger role in the dental workforce.

Overtime, dental practices have learned that locum tenens dentists are some of the hardest, most dedicated professionals in the industry. They’ve learned to trust and rely on temporary dentists, temporary dental hygienist, temporary dental assistants etc. in order to mitigate today’s uncertainty and labor costs.

How Do Locum Tenens Dentist Get Paid?

There are two ways locum tenens dentist get paid: 1) via a per diem option, and 2) via a production option.

In the per diem option, agencies like MASC Medical pay locum tenens dentists a per hourly rate which varies depending on the job market, location, practice size and other variables of the assignment. Typically, locum dentists have a higher per hourly rate when compared to regular full-time dentists.

In the production option, the dental practice pays a percentage of the revenue generated by the locum tenens dentist once they’ve reached the agreed base line of revenue. Typically, the percentage ranges from 30-40% after billings exceed a base of $2,000 to $2,500 per day.

Partnering with MASC Medical 

As a leading locum tenens company, MASC Medical has the experience, resources, and scale needed to efficiently match talented dental providers with practices across the nation.

Whether you’re a dental organization looking to explore locum tenens dental staffing services or a dental provider looking for locum tenens dental jobs, MASC Medical is here to help. Simply connect with us.


One of our specialist will reach out to you.