By Debra Wood, RN, contributor Aug 12, 2020
Calling all dentists: whether you are just starting out
and want to earn extra money to pay off student loan debts, or a seasoned
practitioner tired of running a practice but don’t want to give up the joy of
practicing dentistry, locum tenens dentist assignments can provide a number of
options to meet your goals.
“Locum dentists are helping communities, taking care of patients and doing what
they are passionate about,” said Paula Thomas-Linwood,
dentistry recruiting manager at Staff
Care. “It’s rewarding to take care of patients in need or in
an office in need of someone with experience.”
Most locum tenens dental jobs are for general dentistry. However, some specialists,
including endodontists, oral surgeons and pediatric dentists, also are in
“If dentistry is being practiced, we will see locum dentist jobs there,” Thomas-Linwood said.
The dentists who work locum tenens jobs—and where you’ll find them
These temporary or part-time dental jobs may be in corporate dental practices,
private practice, community health centers and government facilities, including
the Department of Corrections.
Most of the locum tenens positions are in suburbs or rural areas, according to Thomas-Linwood,
with fewer available in large metropolitan areas, such as Dallas or Miami.
“Dentists are in short supply in
the Midwest, and we will help dentists license for Wisconsin, Missouri,
Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa,” Thomas-Linwood said.
Some newer dentists will work at their own practice two or three days per week
and accept locum tenens assignments in a nearby area on the other days, she
Other dentists consider locum assignments when they are looking for a permanent
job and want to try out different areas.
Retired dentists often work locum tenens, because they are not ready to give up
“A lot of them like to travel to different states,” Thomas-Linwood said. “The
majority just love what they do. They may have retired or taken a year off.
Locums is a good way to get back in, doing a week or two a month.”
Some locum tenens dentists work seasonally, desiring to spend summers in Minnesota,
Wisconsin or Michigan, for
Work options and logistics for locum dentistry assignments
Locum dentists must be licensed in the state where care is provided, and Staff
Care will help their dentist candidates secure additional licenses, which gives
them more opportunities. Federal government positions,
such as those at the Indian Health Service, accept a license from any state.
Typically, credentialing is quick for dental jobs, rarely more than a couple of
weeks, depending on what is needed.
“We can get a dentist to work for the
first time in as little as five business days,” Thomas-Linwood said.
Locum tenens assignments can be brief, sporadic, recurring or long-term. The
assignment might be for two days per week or two weeks per month or five days
for three months.
“I’ve had locums in place
for more than a year, straight,” Thomas-Linwood said. “Some will stay in
another state for six or seven months.”
The locum tenens dentist might cover for vacation or maternity leave or fill a
vacancy while the practice attempts to hire a full-time dentist. If it ends up
being a good fit, the practice may want to hire the locum dentist, and that is
Compensation depends on the job market, location, and size and type of
practice, with some assignments competitive with associate dentist pay rates.
The hiring practices or
clinics set the rates, based on their budget. Some clients will pay a
percent of production; those practices might pay a daily minimum guarantee or
percent of production, whichever is greater for the day, Thomas-Linwood said.
In addition to wages, locum tenens dentists receive reimbursement for lodging
and mileage, as well as medical malpractice insurance covered by the locum
The outlook for the dentist job market
The American Dental
Association reported that 200,419 dentists were practicing in the United
States in 2019, averaging 61.1 dentists for every 100,000 people. However,
there are dentist shortages in certain geographic areas or
among disadvantaged populations.
Demand for dentists is
expected to remain high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the
outlook for dentist jobs is growing faster than the average occupations, with a
7 percent increase predicted from 2018 to 2028.
“The need for dentists, including locum tenens dentists, is always high,” Thomas-Linwood said.
The States Most in Need of Dentists
STAFF CARE has numerous assignments for locum tenens dentists; CONTACT
OUR DENTISTRY DIVISION to learn more.
SEARCH ALL LOCUM DENTIST JOBS