dentist showing patient his teeth

Working with a new team of dental professionals is a great strategy for becoming a better dentist. Anyone looking to hone their skills should search for a locum tenens job. This type of job takes place in an entirely new environment, so everyone involved can become more proficient.

What Is Locum Tenens?

Locum tenens is a Latin term which literally means “to hold the place of.” In place of another provider, the job of a locum tenens dentist is to cover for the absence of another dentist. Rural or small towns are often where locum tenens work, as in these locations full-time professional staff is in short supply. In some cases, when an employee needs to go on vacation, the practice will hire a locum tenens to replace them in the interim. Locum tenens work on a contract and often have flexible hours.


The responsibility of a locum tenens is fairly similar to that of the original dentist. They examine teeth and gums of patients, provide diagnosis, and devise treatment plans. Other tasks include filling cavities, taking x-rays, and removing teeth. Like most dentists at the end of an appointment, a locum tenens also instructs patients on good oral hygiene.

Hours And Schedule: How Many Hours Will I Work?

Unfortunately, a locum tenens position is never permanent. The goal of the job is to stand in for a professional whose position can never be left vacant. That being said, hours for this role are sometimes unpredictable and inconsistent. On the other hand, this depends entirely on what the business needs from the locum tenens dentist. More times than not, locum tenens dentists work full-time, and even on weekends.

Compensation: How Much Will I Be Paid?

Pay will always vary for this type of job, as different positions carry different responsibilities and such tasks can range in difficulty. The number of hours will also vary as some locum tenens dentists work full-time and sometimes work weekends. Nevertheless, others work part-time and are not needed everyday. Locum tenens dentists make an average of up to $75 an hour. Once again, this depends on the location as well as the minimum wage in the area. To make up for lack of hours, part time jobs may offer a higher pay rate than jobs which offer longer shifts.

What Benefits Are Available To Locum Tenens Dentists?

The benefits of being a locum tenens dentist are very broad. Working in different environments is one advantage. Because your job is to stand in for someone else, you will most likely find yourself going from office to office, changing work environments frequently. Throughout this type of experience, locum tenens learn to be very adaptable. They have an opportunity to learn new skills as they are exposed to a variety of dental procedures. This experience also helps with resume building. The job of a locum tenens dentist can be very flexible, in terms of picking when and what days to work, unless it is a situation in which an individual has left on vacation and you are the designated locum tenens.

Join Us Today!

In conclusion, if you are looking to gain experience and start over in a new work environment, a locum tenens dentist job might be a good fit for you. Keep in mind that this job – and its pay rate – is not going to be the same throughout. If paced correctly, however, a locum tenens profession could provide great experience to a dentist who’s looking for a change. For more information, or to explore Locum Tenens opportunities, contact Matika Irons today!