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2022 RDH Salary and Benefits Survey is Live

Please take the 2022 RDH Salary Survey. We offer this survey annually and will compare year over year statistics. We will post results in December. Please click the link below. Takes 1-2 minutes 👍💰.

2022 Scholarship Award Winner

Our 2022 scholarship award winner is Geizel Dayawan.  She is beginning her 2nd year at Pima’s dental hygiene program in North Seattle.  Geizel is a special person that has overcome a myriad of obstacles to make it this far.  She graduated from Pima with a dental assisting certificate in 2007 and started pursuing dental hygiene pre-reqs in 2018.  She was admitted to the hygiene program in 2020 only to learn a week later she had to withdraw for personal reasons.  This was a major setback and for many it could have ended their pursuit altogether.  Geizel took more pre-reqs at several community colleges eventually earning honor society status.  She was re-admitted to Pima’s program against long odds and is graduating in Spring 2023. 

In Geizel’s own words, “Even though I have faced a lot of trials and tribulations and had more setbacks than I can count, and I may not be where I want to be in life, my perseverance and motivation are getting me to where I need to be. Time has never been on my side; however, I am learning to trust it.”

Congratulations Geizel.  You deserved this award, and we know you will be a credit to the hygiene profession for many years to come.

Geizel Dayawan at Pima’s Dental Hygiene Clinic

New Grad Season

Congratulations to the hygiene class of 2022 at all of our schools in Washington. Some new grads from Pima have already received their licenses and are temping right now! Other programs have graduation this month and many students still have a board or two left. Expect the bulk of the licenses to arrive mid to late July.

This week Dental Connections attended the LWIT career fair for hygienists. Shanan Salado and Tammy Smith connected with many of the students and hopefully will be placing them in offices soon.

First Visit to Shoreline’s Hygiene Program at UW

It is that time of year again when 2nd year hygiene students are finishing final boards and are just weeks away from graduation. Dental Connections visits most of the local programs once a year to get to know the students better and prepare them for their first hygiene jobs in the real world. A couple of firsts happened when Ryan visited Shoreline in early May.

Due to a covid exposure the planned presentation in the classroom was moved outside! As dental professionals we all know you have to adapt constantly. Never more so than during pandemic times. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and it turned out to be a blessing.

The other first was seeing Shoreline’s new clinic at UW. The facility boasts all new chairs/equipment with a beautiful view of Lake Washington. Dental Connections was on the front lines in the fight to save Shoreline’s program and it was so satisying to know this program is secure and healthy again. A small class of 10 graduates this year and by 2024 they will have 20+ graduates again annually.

Ryan Downing with the 10 graduating students at Shoreline/UW

Temp of the Year Awards

There are three little words that are the secret to success in our profession. They embody the difference between an average dental professional and an exceptional one. The words are “and then some”.

Exceptional dental professionals in any practice do what is expected…and then some. They are thoughtful and supportive of others; they are considerate and kind…and then some. They can be counted on in emergencies…and then some.

Dental Connections is thankful for people like Beth Higgins, Nohra Belaid, Sydney Brediger (RDHs), Laura Paulsen, Mandy Schoen, and Nila Houghton (RDAs). Their dedication, professionalism, and service have earned them our Temp of the Year Awards for 2021.

A sincere thank you to ALL of the temps that have worked for us this year. We appreciate you very much.

Our Beloved Cyndy Burki Retiring

The last two years brought changes to our lives and world that many could have never imagined. It has been a time for introspection and finding what is most important in life.

I too have spent much time reflecting. After 47 years in dentistry (23 years with Dental Connections) I am retiring 12/31/21. My time spent inside dental offices and then at Dental Connections Inc has been truly wonderful and rewarding. The opportunity to help patients with their dental care and then help dental professionals with their careers has been nothing short of amazing. It has been a very gratifying career and I am blessed to have met so many wonderful people along the way. The journey of my dental career allowed me to meet many people that have become wonderful friends I hold dear to my heart. Some of you I only got to meet briefly while placing you in temporary positions or a permanent job. Others have become lifelong friends that are part of my “family”. No interaction has been insignificant as I have learned much and grown in so many ways from each of you.

My coworkers at Dental Connections have a place in my heart as well. They have supported me through many life changes and challenges. I will miss the fun times and experiences we have together. Although the pandemic has made many changes to our work environment we have found we could come together and press onward while some work from home and others (me) work from the office. It’s been a challenge, but we supported each other and moved Dental Connections forward with compassion, integrity, and service for those who need us.

I would like to thank Donna Downing for giving me the opportunity to join Dental Connections in 1998 and to Ryan Downing for allowing me to continue to be a part of this great team another 20 years. Also, to all my coworkers, clients, applicants, and friends: thank you all for the great memories and support given to me. It has been an adventure and I look forward to a new journey just around the corner.

I wish all of you the best life can give you and a reminder that you are all remarkable!!

Cyndy Burki

Donate to Smiles Forever

Many of you know or have volunteered with Smiles Forever in Bolivia. Please consider donating to their fundraising campaign for 2022. Each dollar you donate goes directly to providing free preventive and restorative care to children in Bolivia! As a dental hygienist, I have always been passionate about preventative care for children, but as a new Mom, I am compelled to dedicate my life to this program. Children deserve to be cared for and to be loved. Dental care should be accessible and available to all. We are only able to provide free preventive and restorative dental care to children while simultaneously building our dental hygiene school at UPAL University because of donations. Please consider Smiles Forever when thinking about your end of year contributions. We are eradicating dental cavities and providing love and support where there is none. Please visit the online auction to make a donation

Sarah Bonck RDH

2021 Dental Hygienist Salary & Benefits Survey

Dental Connections surveys local dental hygienists on an annual basis to produce accurate, comprehensive, and current statistics about their wages and benefits in dental offices. The answers to this survey are completely anonymous and provide the most up to date and accurate statistics available anywhere.

Before reading the results, we want to point out some key observations and historical trends:

• This survey combines ALL types of hygienists: traditional, accelerated, restorative, part time, full time, experienced, new grads, etc. Accelerated and restorative hygienists typically make more than traditional hygienists. Full time workers receive better benefits than part time workers. Take this into account while analyzing the statistics.

• The greater Seattle area is in its 6th year of an extreme shortage of hygienists. The Covid-19 pandemic has made a bad situation even worse. There are cohorts of workers that have retired or not returned to the workforce for health concerns/childcare reasons. The average age of workers has decreased dramatically. Years of experience dropped from 15.85 in 2020 to 9.99 in 2021. That is a startling number. Maybe it is a one year anomaly or the older generation of hygienists will not return at all.

• The survey compares hourly rates in 2021 vs. 2020. Examining just one geographic segment in North King County reveals hourly rates have risen over 9% in a single year. The increases vary by geographic area, but all track a similar trend of upward pressure on wages.

• Historically, experienced professionals that have spent more time in a single practice are compensated higher for loyalty. This is no longer the case because the shortage and increasing wages has not plateaued yet. Dental hygienists are routinely accepting permanent job offers or temp jobs well above the average hourly rates of employed individuals.

• 21% of respondents are part time workers and this has a dramatic effect on benefits statistics. The benefits percentages are lower as a result of the part time workers reporting lesser benefits.

Before determining whether an hourly rate is fair, consider all important factors: location, hygiene role performed, experience level, type of practice, and benefits (which can add approximately $5-$15/hour to the compensation package). Lastly, being satisfied in your job or with a loyal employee on a daily basis is always worth way more than a couple dollars an hour.

It’s Giving Season. Please Support Shoreline Dental Hygiene Program.


Challenge Grant: $500,000
Raised to Date: $ 258,205

Campaign ends 12/31/2021 at Midnight … and the clock is ticking…

Your support will make a difference!

WHY CONTRIBUTE? • Dental hygienist positions in Washington remain open an average of 4 months. • For every hygienist seeking a position, more than 4 positions are now available. • Open positions for dental hygienists in King and Snohomish counties totaled more than 550 at survey time. • Your contribution will help build the dental hygienist work force and improve access to oral health care in Washington State.

WHERE DOES YOUR CONTRIBUTION FIT? Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington School of Dentistry have formed a partnership to sustain and expand dental hygiene education. The ARCORA Foundation donated $1million outright and an additional $500,000 matching grant in support of that goal. Now comes the challenge of raising the additional $500,000 from oral health champions and advocates throughout the state. The clock is ticking. We have until midnight, Dec. 31, 2021, to meet this challenge and deliver a $2million boost to dental hygiene education. Your donation will make a difference!

2021 Dental Assistant Salary & Benefits Survey

Dental Connections is a dental employment agency offering temporary and permanent placement services for dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and business staff. We are more than just a temp agency because all of the dental professionals we represent are screened with a personal interview. Half our business is dedicated to permanent placement. Our service area is all of Western Washington, with most jobs in the following cities: Everett, Lynnwood, Seattle, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Renton, Kent, Federal Way, Auburn, Puyallup, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Olympia, and Centralia.