What if any compensation an associate receives for supervising dental hygiene remains a contentious issue.17,27,28 An owner-dentist may argue that s/he is paying the dental hygienist and the associate, and therefore all hygiene-related production should be credited to the owner-dentist. From the perspective of the associate, his/her license and liability are literally on the line when supervising dental hygiene. Further, an associate misses treatment time to do “hygiene checks;” thus, some argue the associate should at least receive credit for the dental exam and perhaps a percentage of radiographic fees.28 As with other potentially troublesome areas in the contract, the worst course of action is to ignore hygiene supervision issues in the contract. Instead, the contract should state plainly if the dental associate is to receive credit in his/her revenue for at least performing the check/dental exam. Alternatively, if the dental exam is to be credited to the practice (not the associate), the contract should state this. Failure to address the issue and operating on the basis of assumptions on the part of either the associate or the owner simply paves the way for unnecessary conflict which could contribute to an unsuccessful associateship over time.
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