What is Dental Temping?

What is Dental Temping?

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
What is Dental Temping?

If you’ve ever seen dental temp agencies or apps advertising jobs, you may have some questions about what temping consists of and how it works. Before you sign on with a dental hygienist temp agency (or dental assistant temp agency because they have those too!) there are several things you need to know. Not all dental temp agencies, apps, or networking platforms are created equal. Nor are the jobs/gigs you get paired with when you sign up to work. The more you understand how dental temping works, the better control you’ll have over your day-to-day job routine.

What Is A Temporary Dental Staffing Agency?

When a dental office has a hygienist or assistant call in sick, they can call a dental temp agency to send someone to fill in for them. These temporary dental staffing agencies pair available contracted dental professionals with the office who needs a qualified staff member to see patients.

Occasionally, you might see a dental hygienist temp agency offer a “temp to hire” position. These gigs are where the hygienist fills in, everybody looks to see if it’s a good fit, and the hygienist has the opportunity to take the position as a permanent job if the office decides they want to hire them for the long haul.

You could call a hygienist/dental assistant temp agency a “matchmaker” or “middle man” of sorts, as they specifically bring dental offices and employees together when there’s a need for additional staff. Most of them are geographical and the office calls the temp agency when there’s a need.

Tip: Today, there are a lot of alternatives to dental temp agencies. Specifically, dental job apps and websites that allow dentists, hygienists, and assistants to set their availability, hours, and even desired salary.  Some companies like OnDiem even have benefits like PTO, healthcare, and comp insurance as the standard. The app lets offices and dental staff “find” each other, essentially eliminating the brick-and-mortar staffing agency while adding in a lot more flexibility.

Why Would You Temp?

There are a lot of reasons why someone may want to choose to temp in dentistry. Some examples include:

  • Picking up extra hours and pay for the holidays, one-time expenses like travel, or saving up for a special event.
  • Your office is going to close for some reason but you’d like to work those days anyway.
  • You enjoy trying new things or meeting new people.
  • You’re considering a change in employment.
  • The flexibility works better with your busy lifestyle (i.e., parenting, traveling, a partner who works atypical hours, etc.)
  • More control over your pay and schedule.
  • The ability to take off whenever you want, without having to ask or get approval from anyone.
  • Opportunities to travel and work in new areas.
  • Fill in a part-time schedule with additional workdays when you can’t find a full-time job.
  • Only work the days you want to.

There’s no right or wrong reason to temp!

Who Is Dental Temping For?

Who can work or find jobs with dental temp agencies?

Dental Hygienists 

Dental hygienist temp agency jobs are some of the most popular. Because without a hygienist, offices cannot see their recall or perio patients. Hygienists are priceless when it comes to the bread-and-butter of keeping a dental office running. But when a hygienist calls in sick or there are too many recall patients to see, offices can easily rely on a temp agency to help them stay up and running.

Dental Assistants 

Is it possible to work as a temp dental assistant? Yes! Especially if you have unique training, experience, or credentials under your belt.


Dentists can also work with dental temp agencies. Some classic examples include when the current DDS is sick, going on vacation but doesn’t want to close the office or specialists who want to work a day or two in various offices without going on contract with them.

Benefits Of Temping 

  • Depending on what agency or platform you’re temping through, you can set your hourly or per diem pay rate.
  • Pick your own schedule.
  • Choose where you work and who to work with.
  • Opportunity to get extra hours without taking on a permanent job.
  • Get paid through the app or dental temp agencies, so you don’t have to worry about keeping all of the financials straight.
  • Work in new areas or types of offices when and where you want to.
  • Choose whether or not you want to take a certain temp role (this may not be the case with all brick-and-mortar dental temp agencies, but it is on temping apps.)

Work And Travel  

Today, a lot of people like to travel and work remotely. As a dental professional, you can’t see a prophy patient over the computer. But you still have the chance to travel around and keep a job. Maybe you want to airbnb hop for a week! If you work as a temp, you can still pick up some hours wherever you’re at and have plenty of time off to enjoy doing what you love.

Dental professionals can find it extremely hard to travel when they have a permanent place of employment. Oftentimes, staff are restricted to when and how often they can take off from work. Temping allows you to travel whenever you want because you literally set your availability and go through the temping platform, not the physical dentist’s office you’re working at. You’re not going to lose your job if you go on a two-week cruise!

Make Sure It’s The Right Fit For You! 

Dental temping has a lot of perks that fit people who want/need flexible careers. However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. For example, if you need to guarantee that you’re working a full-time job because of set monthly expenses that you’re solely responsible for, you may find that some months you aren’t able to get as many hours as you need. And then there’s the fact that some offices simply won’t go through a dental temp agency no matter what because they have preconceived notions about the type of employees the temp agency is sending.

If you don’t work well with surprises or changing up your daily routine, working in a new office every week may be extra stress you hadn’t factored into the equation. Learning a new operatory and finding where supplies are at are common with temping. Some temps even take certain things with them from office to office. You’re not guaranteed that every dental practice is going to have the same type of equipment from one to the next.

Plus, some temp jobs don’t come up until the day of, sending you an alert early in the morning; if you prefer not to live life on the fly sometimes, temping may not be a good fit. Especially if you don’t like waking up early in the morning unless you absolutely have to.

All of that being said, the best way to find out if temping is right for you is to just give it a try. What’s it going to hurt?! Learn here how to temp the right way!

What Are Dental Temping Agencies All About?

Dental temp agencies have been around for years. Today, the dental hygienist temp agency is taking the shape of apps and web platforms that allow you to have more control over when and where you work (as well as how much you get paid.) Since offices and dental staff both have more control over who they work with, dental temping is quickly becoming more popular and successful than it has in a really long time. And with the added perks of getting to set your schedule or travel to new areas, it’s no surprise why many dental professionals are choosing to temp on a permanent basis. Just make sure it’s right for you since there are some factors that could be an issue, like the guarantee of working a full-time schedule when there are bills to be paid.

 Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio BS, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Last updated onSeptember 22, 2023Here is our process

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