Dental hygiene has changed dramatically from a serious shortage of hygienists leading to high wages and a lack of choice for dentists to choose. Today, there is a vast over-supply; competition between job candidates and existing high-wage hygienists must earn their position with proper billing, periodontal care and overall patient service.
The hygiene entry wage has declined significantly and, for most, the wages of long term existing hygienists have been frozen without question to maintain job security.
In our experience at Transitions, building a current standard of care services, the hygienist today must be open-minded, professional and take their role seriously with how they contribute to prevention of periodontal disease and restorative dentistry.
The challenge with lower entry wages, frozen current wages and oversupply of hygienists has led to a real fear that scaling and cleanings will become fee reduced and commoditized as part of competition and new patient promotions by new practices.
The dental practice will always be better with a hygienist and, as time progresses, the need for a RDH will be high due to the patient generations, reduced dental caries causing a decline in dental restorative needs seen by the dentist.
This evolution demands that the focus be set on more preventive diagnostic care (versus repair) through the hygiene department. The development of a patient education program, based on the solid foundation that oral health is the gateway to overall body wellness, not only provides the benefits of health for your patient but a promising future for dental hygiene.
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