US Senate confronts dental staffing crisis

The dental industry is facing a critical staffing crisis that threatens the accessibility and quality of oral health care nationwide. Recently US Senate leaders met to discuss the detrimental impact this crisis has on millions of Americans.1 To tackle these pressing issues, innovative strategies are being implemented across various fronts. From leveraging new technologies to streamline recruitment and enhancing license portability through the Dental Compact, to developing robust employee retention strategies and supporting educational programs for future professionals, the industry is mobilizing comprehensive solutions. Moreover, there is a movement to revamp the office experience to appeal to minority professionals, creating a workforce that is more diverse and inclusive. These multifaceted efforts are essential for overcoming current challenges and ensuring the long-term sustainability of dental care services.

The dental staffing crisis
As the dental industry contends with a critical staffing deficit, its challenges are compounded by multiple factors. A scarcity of dental professionals, particularly hygienists and assistants, has become pervasive, with a staggering 95% of dentists encountering considerable difficulties in recruiting hygienists and over 87% facing challenges in hiring assistants.2 An aging workforce, coupled with a decline in enrollment in degreed dental programs, adds to the complexity of the issue. Moreover, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the loss of approximately 8% of the dental workforce,3 continues to strain an already tenuous situation. These shortages not only impede practice efficiency and profitability, but also have far-reaching implications for patient care, potentially widening health disparities. These converging elements paint a stark picture of the declining state of the dental industry, necessitating innovative strategies to address the pressing staffing crisis.

Source: US Senate confronts dental staffing crisis / Dentistry IQ

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