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What are dental assistants really worth to a practice? You’ll be surprised!

June 16, 2017
Have you ever taken the time to determine the true value of the dental assistants to your practice? Dental assistants can do a variety of duties that have a huge impact on practices' bottom lines. 

Have you ever taken the time to determine the true value of the dental assistants to your practice? Dental assistants can do a variety of duties that have a huge impact on practices' bottom lines.

This article originally appeared in Dental Assisting & Office Manager Digest. Subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter here.

There is a lot of discussion about how much dentists produceper hour and how much hygienists produce per hour. But what about the people in every practice who make everything run more smoothly . . . dental assistants?

What exactly do dental assistants produce for the practice per hour? It’s a statistic that is often overlooked or forgotten as assistants are rarely thought of as income producers in many practices. Yet, think about the things that your assistant can legally do in your state, such as nightguards, pedo prophies, biteguards, or whitening. There are many opportunities for assistants to have an impact on the bottom line of the practice.

However, before we go further, it’s important to understand that dental assistants must adhere to the laws of each state so they don’t do anything illegal. These laws are something assistants, as well as every dentist, must know about their states.

If you don’t know what dental assistants can legally do or not do in each state, there’s an easy way to find out. Go to and click on the “Meet State Requirements” at the top of the page. From there, you can click on individual states to see the breadth of duties dental assistants can perform in each state. This is easy to do and very important for many reasons.

So, what is the gross production per assistant per hour? To find out, we took data from Sikka Software from the last seven years. The data we used for this comparison was collected by Sikka Software from more than 12,500 dental practices throughout the United States.

Here are the numbers:

Gross production per assistant per hour
2010 – $174.58
2011 – $139.78
2012 – $106.23
2013 – $113.57
2014 – $117.63
2015 – $119.34
2016 – $133.86

Again, this is per assistant per hour per practice. Think about all of those numbers together and you’ll see the true power of the assistants in your practice.

What can you do to ensure your dental assistants are producing as much as possible for the practice? We asked Kevin Henry, a speaker to dental assistants across the country and cofounder of

“The most important thing any practice can do is to know the laws of its respective state and then figure out how the assistant can do everything he or she is legally allowed to do in that state,” Henry said. “The dental assistant can be a bigger boost to the bottom line of the business when the correct information is known.”

What is your dental practice doing today to maximize the value of your dental assistants to the business? Start by educating yourself and your team on your state’s laws, make sure your dental assistants are empowered and educated, put an action plan in place, and watch your business grow.

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Author’s note: Want to learn more about what Sikka Software can do for your practice? Practice Mobilizer is a free app that lets you send HIPAA-compliant video messages, track patient arrival times, provides zip code specific fee data, and more. Visit

Alitta Boechler is a marketing manager at Sikka Software. She holds a Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. Contact her at [email protected] or (408) 359-3014.