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Report: General practitioner dentists are busier than ever

Aug. 9, 2023
Newly released data shows a discrepancy between dental practice expenses and revenues, as well as some busyness trends being at an all-time high. Learn more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Recent insights on dentist earnings and busyness indicate that practice expenses are rising faster than revenues, a discrepancy driving a downward trend in dentists’ net incomes, and that postpandemic, "GP dentists are busier than ever."

The latest Survey of Dental Practice report from the ADA Health Policy Institute (HPI), released this month, indicates the average net income of general practitioners has declined by 7% in 2022, with the long-term trend showing a “slight decline.”

An inflation-adjusted view of median net income instead of average yields a similar conclusion about trends in GP net income.

According to the report:

  • GP income reported from 2013-2017 averaged $216,077; from 2018-2022, that number dropped 7.3% to $200,326
  • Practice revenue reported from 2013-2017 averaged $741,195, increasing 2.2% in 2018-2022 to 757,449
  • Practice expenses rose 7.7% in those time periods, going from $540,298 in 2013-2017 to $582,730 in 2018-2022

Other key report takeaways:

Patient wait times: Appointment wait times for both new patients and patients of record were up “significantly” in 2022, with the average patient of record waiting 10.5 business days for a general practitioner appointment, excluding emergencies. New patients wanting an initial appointment waited an average of 17.2 days, delays “likely a result of staffing shortages in dental offices.”

Practice busyness: The percentage of GPs indicating they’re “too busy” or “overworked” dropped slightly, from 38% in 2021 to 37% in 2022. But, notes the report, “the percent indicating ‘too busy to treat all people requesting appointments’ or ‘provided care to all who requested appointments but was overworked’ is at an all-time high.

Average hours worked: The average number of hours GPs are working rose from 1,691 in 2021 to 1,748 in 2022. Overall, general practitioners worked 4.5% more hours in 2022 than the average from 2000-2019, or an extra 1.5 hours per week.

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