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Differences in Characteristics of California Dentists Who Employ Dental Hygienists and Those Who Do Not (The Journal of the American Dental Association)

August 1, 2009

Journal Article

Author: Nadereh Pourat, PhD

Dental hygienists can increase dentists' productivity, yet nationwide, one-third of dentists do not employ a hygienist. The profession needs more information on the characteristics of these dentists and their reasons for not employing hygienists.

The author used a 2003 survey of California dentists and a logistic regression analysis to assess factors independently associated with dentists' employment of hygienists. These factors included dentists' personal, practice, population, productivity and patient care characteristics. Characteristics of dentists who did not employ hygienists and their reasons for not doing so were also assessed.

Dentists who worked full time, employed more administrative personnel, had more operatories, had longer appointments, had more income from private payers and had more elderly patients were more likely to employ hygienists than were dentists with alternative characteristics. Graduates of dental schools outside the United States and those with fewer white patients were less likely to employ hygienists. Reasons for not employing hygienists included personal choice, high costs and not having a sufficient volume of work.

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