Tips on Temping as a Dental Hygienist

Hi everyone! I finished dental hygiene school in 2018 and decided to temp before I committed to working full-time at my permanent office now. I probably temped at about 50 dental offices. I first heard about temping from a classmate during the summer of dental hygiene school. I was looking for work that was short term where I wouldn't have to commit to the dental office. I figured it would be the perfect opportunity for me to get temporary work as I would be returning to school in the fall. This blog will be specifically on the temp agency that I worked with. There are a few other ones but I have not worked with them. Temping is not for everyone so I will be sharing my tips on temping!

Getting Started

  • Personal Interview with temp agency
  • Going over skill set
  • Fill out paperwork (ID, license, W2, etc.)
  • Give availability of schedule (work 1 day/week, work for only 3 months total, seeking temp work that will eventually lead to permanent work, etc.
  • Set location of how far you are willing to travel
  • Set wage

Benefits of Temping

  • Having a flexible schedule: choosing when to work 1-2 days/week or more
  • Travel for work
  • Meet new people
  • See how other dental offices are like

Reasons NOT to Temp

  • Get used to working in a new dental office
  • Not willing to travel for work
  • Have to wake up earlier to get familiar with new work location
  • Office can cancel your schedule or send you home early if patients cancel, etc.

How to Prep for Temping

  • Temp agency sends schedule of offices that have confirmed with work days + hours
  • Always call to confirm schedule

Questions to ask when calling to confirm

  • Double check hours confirmed
  • How does the schedule look?
  • Is there a lunch hour provided?
  • How many patients are scheduled?
  • Is there a morning meeting huddle?
  • How early should you arrive before your first scheduled patient?
  • Ask about parking?

What to expect on temp day

You will be greeted by the front office staff & either the dental assistant or dental hygienist will show you around so you can get familiar with the office before your day starts. Check out:

  • Schedule for the day
  • Operatory ( see where supplies are kept)
  • Sterilization room
  • Computer system
  • X-ray machine
  • Ask if you get help with perio charting
  • How to get the dentist for an exam
  • Do you set up/break down your own room?

End of Day

Thank the staff for the day, make sure they get all of your paperwork so they can do payroll. If you get paid from the office like I did then you will get paid according to the office's payroll schedule. This would either be biweekly, monthly or 1st & 15th of the month, etc. If you are returning to the office to temp again, confirm with them on the schedule, if not just thank the staff for the day.

How to keep track of temp schedule & pay

Like I had mentioned previously, I probably temped at about 50 dental offices and it is hard to keep track of. I printed out a calendar ( you can also keep track on your computer) and recorded all of the days that I temped, the hours worked for that day, how much money I asked for ( sometimes the wages can fluctuate). I recorded the total amount that I made to keep track of my pay.

Hope these tips were helpful!

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