HPI: Economic, dental practice recovery confidence drop among dentists

Poll finds dental practice schedules remain steady


Dentists’ confidence in economic recovery continued to drop in May, with only 1 in 5 dentists having high hopes for U.S. economic recovery in the coming months, according to the latest wave of the ADA Health Policy Institute’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll.

The poll found that 22% of dentists indicated they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in the U.S. economic recovery in the next six months, down from 29% in April. The drop echoed dentists’ confidence in their own dental practice recovery, with 65% indicating they were “very” or “somewhat” confident in the recent poll, down slightly from 69% in April.

Other results from the poll, which involved nearly 1,400 respondents, included:

  • Dental practice schedules remained steady with dentists responding their practice schedules were 86% full in May.
  • Dental team recruitment needs have not eased up. Roughly 4 in 10 dentists were recruiting dental assistants and dental hygienists in May. Recruiting dental hygienists continues to be the most challenging for dentists.
  • On average, 22% of dental hygiene positions were unfilled in dental practices in May. Dentists in urban areas are feeling this shortage more acutely.

According to the poll, 51% of total dental hygienist positions in a practice in the top 20 cities are open. In other urban settings, 19% are open; 17% in practices in suburban areas; and 19% in rural areas.

The HPI’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry monthly poll began in January to measure the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to gather dentists’ opinions on other current and emerging issues impacting their practices. The revamped panel is a continuation and expansion of the previous poll that HPI conducted between the onset of the pandemic and December 2021.

To join the panel, read the full monthly reports or view the new interactive state dashboard, visit

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