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Locum Tenens Dentists: Pros & Cons for Your Dental Practice

Locum tenens dentists are highly skilled professionals who work on temporary contracts to provide coverage in dental practices. These contracts range from short-term assignments to longer placements, offering flexibility that traditional permanent roles may not provide. Dental professionals opt for locum positions for various reasons, including the opportunity to experience different practice settings, maintain a flexible schedule, and often earn competitive compensation.

Understanding the role of locum tenens dentists is crucial for dental practices looking to manage staffing challenges effectively. Whether you’re navigating staff vacations, medical leaves, or unexpected shortages, integrating locum tenens dentists into your staffing strategy can offer a reliable solution. This approach helps maintain continuity of care and introduces fresh perspectives and expertise that can benefit your practice in numerous ways.

What are Locum Tenens Dentists?

Locum tenens dentists work on a short-term and long-term basis and provide coverage for vacations, leaves for illness, or staffing shortages. Locum tenens dentistry jobs offer flexibility, and temporary dentistry positions, known as locum tenens, appeal to many dental professionals more than permanent roles. 

While these short-term contracts provide various benefits, such as flexibility and competitive pay, dentists working in locum tenens positions may need to manage aspects like securing their own health insurance and retirement plan and being away from their families.

Benefits of Locum Tenens Dentist

The main benefits of Locum tenens dentists are as follows:

Provide Continuity of Care

When a dentist resigns or takes extended leave, hiring a locum tenens dentist can help you maintain continuity of care for dental patients. Maintaining ongoing care enhances the patient experience and satisfaction, fostering strong patient loyalty.

Reducing Staffing Costs

Rather than receiving a fixed salary, locum tenens dentists commonly charge for their services in two ways: a daily rate known as per diem or by receiving a percentage of the revenue they generate for the practice based on production.

Although locum tenens dentists can be expensive, their expenses are generally lower than a new dentist’s recruitment, hiring, and training expenses. Engaging a temporary dentist allows you to select a dental professional who precisely matches your job requirements, thus avoiding turnover costs.

Filling Gaps in Staffing

With an increasing number of dental positions remaining unfilled, dental practices need help in bridging staffing shortages. Insufficient staff may lead to longer wait times for routine dental services and procedures, provoking certain patients to seek treatment elsewhere.

Gaining New Perspective and Expertise

The temporary dentist you hire may have years of experience working as a general dentist, acquiring extensive expertise in providing essential services that many of your patients require, including extractions, implants, dentures, and other procedures.

Locum tenens dentists may also offer valuable insights they gain from working at different practices to help you improve your business operations and customer experience.

Disadvantages of Locum Tenens Dentist

The following are a few disadvantages of locum tenens dentists:

Risk of Lower-Quality Care

There are lengthy onboarding processes and credentialing to hire a permanent dentist, whereas the staffing of locum tenens is typically immediate. This includes a few days of training for the temporary dentist to get familiar with your practice. If you skip these steps, it may not be safe because the locum tenens dentist will not meet your standards for quality of care.

Lack of Consistent Care

Locum tenens dentists are temporary, which means your patients could experience inconsistent care when the dentist inevitably leaves your practice. Consistency of care can improve patients’ experiences.

Cost of Locum Tenens

If there’s a shortage of specific job types, the locum tenens professional who fills the temporary positions might ask you for a higher rate. It means you’ve got to pay much more to your locum tenens dentists.

Join Us Today

If you are prepared to pursue a career that will truly impact people’s lives, Intuitive Health Services is the place for you. 

Apply now and join our compassionate team dedicated to transforming lives.


Employing locum tenens dentists can bring a variety of advantages, including uninterrupted patient care and the ability to broaden your range of services. Whether you need coverage for vacations, medical leaves, or simply to manage a busy period, locum tenens dentists provide a flexible solution that ensures your practice operates smoothly and effectively.

Partnering with an intuitive health services agency can streamline finding locum tenens dentists who fit your practice’s needs. These agencies specialize in temporarily connecting dental practices with qualified professionals, handling everything from credentialing to scheduling. This allows you to focus on patient care and practice management without the stress of recruitment and logistics.

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