Though 99% of dental offices remain open and patient volume is holding steady at 80% of pre-pandemic levels, staffing remains a challenge at 93% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the October 5 edition of the ADA Health Policy Institute’s biweekly poll.
About a third of dental practices are recruiting dental assistants and a quarter are recruiting hygienists, the poll revealed. Large groups and practices associated with dental service organizations (DSOs) are recruiting more heavily than non-DSO and solo practices.
Among those hiring for any position including hygienists, assistants, administrative staff, or other dentists, most said that recruiting has been extremely or very challenging compared to before the pandemic. Nearly 80% said recruiting hygienists was extremely or very challenging, and about 70% said the same for dental assistants.
Meanwhile, consumers are open to the idea of getting vaccinated while they’re at the dental office. Most consumers said they would be interested in getting a flu shot as well as a COVID-19 vaccine during their appointment if they were offered by dental practices, the ADA said.