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Nationwide dental assistant shortage appears to be hitting C.O.

Dental assistance make up nearly 50% of the oral health care workforce; issue predates COVID-19

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend Family Dentistry is no stranger in facing a shortage of dental assistants, a key part of their business.

"We have had this shortage for probably the last five years," Stacy Sabin, Bend Family Dentistry's clinic administrator, said Wednesday. "It's been really tough getting dental assistants."

Bend Family Dentistry is not the only one, either. At least two other dental offices in Bend and Redmond are also facing shortages.

There are nearly 350,000 dental assistants, 155,000 dentists and about 220,000 hygienists nationwide. Dental assistants make up nearly 50% of the oral health care workforce.

On Indeed, there are 15 current listings in Bend  for dental assistants. Two of those job listings are by Bend Family Dentistry.

 "Well, we prefer they have expanded functions, and also at least one year under their belt," Sabin said. "The pay is good, the hours are good, and I'm not really sure why there is this shortage."

Bend Family Dentistry employs about 10 dental assistants. Sabin said it can take anywhere from a month to a month and a half to fill a dental assistant position.

Sabin said she is confident she will be able to find needed assistants. She added that increased unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 could be making the search a little harder than usual.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

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