4 Dental Hygienist Side Hustles That Earn Serious Money

woman throwing money at the screen

Here’s a scary fact to start your day: over half of Americans and Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. Worse, the inflationary economy is trending these percentages upward at a rapid pace. Increasing housing prices are forcing many out of the market, grocery bills are at all-time highs, and consumer debt is creeping toward $20 trillion in the United States alone.

In short, earning income through secondary sources is no longer part of the “hustler” lifestyle; it’s a harsh reality of our current economic climate. For many, secondary income streams are the only gateway to financial flexibility and (oftentimes) survival.

Unfortunately, the “side-hustle” community is also entrenched in plastic influencers, affiliate-driven recommendations, and downright lies. From our searches, “side hustle” recommendations for hygienists are all just recycled garbage. Yes; delivering for Instacart and driving for Uber is an option. But, at an average of $8.55 per hour, this option doesn’t honestly make sense for most dental professionals.

You have a degree, talent, and experience. You should earn more.

On YouTube, the water isn’t any less murky. We clicked through hundreds of oversaturated videos of influencers recommending these same recycled options. Or, worse, we were bombarded by a seemingly never-ending avalanche of sneaky adverts and remarkably obvious pitches for services like investment apps and so-called “beer money” websites.

So, let’s break down your actual, real, meaningful options. There are plenty of side hustles you can start today that are related to dental hygiene, and pay within arms lengthy (or a few feet over) of your salary.

Dental Hygiene Instructor

After talking with many of our hygienists and making some calls to many of the retired ones we miss, this option actually popped up quite a few times. Not all dental hygiene instructors are full-time professors. In fact, a quick sprint through LinkedIn and Indeed showed a good fare of part-time instructor opportunities. Pay ranged from $25 to $45 per hour. Not too shabby.

Better, there are adjunct instructor opportunities that are “weekends-only.” Generally, these are at colleges geared toward adults with full-time jobs looking to attend part-time to earn a degree. So, these naturally slot into most hygienists’ schedules. You can also find opportunities for part-time weekday help. These are generally on Tuesday & Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, & Friday to coincide with traditional class scheduling.

These positions are in high demand right now (and for, well, the last decade). So, finding one shouldn’t be too challenging. That said, some of the weekend-only positions may be slightly more competitive. Still, this is a job that pays well, is generally easy to find, and that working hygienists are immediately qualified for (at least in terms of technical skills).

Dental Product Sales

Sure, they annoy you sometimes. But dental product salespeople are an important part of the industry. They help dental offices explore new solutions, and they provide real, in-person training and support. As we all become increasingly digitized, the personal touch of a real person is increasingly invaluable. The internet is jam-packed with marketing. Salespeople may be (are) biased. But they’re human. And they’re irreplaceable.

Thus, dental product sales present an interesting opportunity for hygienists willing to walk a few inches away from their traditional workflows. While “sales” may seem intimidating, it’s honestly something hygienists are doing every day. You convince patients to get comprehensive care. Salespeople convince dentists to try our new dental products.

Dental product companies LOVE getting experienced hygienists as applicants for part-time sales positions. You speak the language. You know the landscape. And, most of all, you’re well-acquainted with the peculiarities of dentists. You can expect to make around $25 – $30 per hour. But, if you’re really good, you can earn eye-popping commissions. We talked to some hygienists that earn significantly more doing their part-time sales job than they do actually working as a hygienist.

For most, you’ll earn a little less. Still, it’s a low-stress job that’s pretty much molded to your skillset.

Temping (or “Floating”)

Want the brass tax? Temping is the easiest way to earn extra side income. You literally just do your job for a few extra hours/days a week. This isn’t our pitch (that’s here in a second), this is just a fact. Temping is the single easiest and fastest way to earn extra money, and it’s the route that most hygienists end up choosing in today’s labour-strapped ecosystem.

That said, it’s also the most controversial. Temping solo or with basement temp agencies can be a serious nightmare. You have to cultivate a brand, deal with enormous tax complexities, and regularly deal with challenging offices and situations.

In fact, our internal conversations and experience show that hygienists who work with these traditional agencies (or solo) make significantly less in net earnings than full-time hygienists. Worse, hygienists in these situations often find themselves burnt out, stressed, and downright miserable.

At best, dental temping has a neutral reputation in the industry. At worst, that reputation is negative, especially in Canada. The traditional temping pathway is honestly too high-cost, and low-reward to be worth it to many hygienists. But temping doesn’t have to be a tax, stress, and income nightmare.

At WORKFORCE, we flip the script.

  • We thoroughly vet every dental office we work with, and we avoid any offices with poor practices or crappy work environments.
  • We handle ALL taxes. You get one simple tax form at the end of the year, that’s it.
  • We find you work on your schedule. Simply plug in the hours and days you want to work on our app. We’ll take care of the rest. We quickly match you to highly-vetted dental offices for the exact shifts you want. That’s it!
  • We take care of the stress. You never have to worry about finding offices, marketing, or dealing with annoying people. Consider us your rockstar agent. You want it; you got it.
  • We pay hyper-competitive rates. In fact, we regularly raise our pay to meet industry requirements, and we pay attention to local and regional differences when constructing our rates and your pay. Most hygienists who work with us make at least as much as they do when working full-time. Many make more.

Yes, this is our pitch. You knew it was coming. That said, it’s all the honest truth. We are the ONLY dental staffing solution in Canada that ticks these boxes (most tick exactly zero of these), and we’re one of only a few in the United States. Our margins are (seriously) thin. But we’re growing rapidly. Instead of trying to grow off of your hard work (i.e., siphoning your money), we decided to grow by offering a legitimately superior solution. Test it out. See the difference for yourself.


We saved this one for last, because, well… it’s a little different. Dental hygiene consulting involves helping dental practices create better hygiene environments. Typically, this means helping them:

  • boost hygiene production
  • increase hourly production of hygienists
  • decrease open time
  • increase case acceptance rate for hygiene procedures

You can either start your own consultancy agency or work with a consultant company or PPO that offers consultancy services. So, we understand that this may be an awkward option for many hygienists. In fact, this was the least popular option on this list. After all, what makes you qualified to go in and tell dental offices how to improve production?

Well, everything. You literally know everything about dental office hygiene. It’s your job. Often, these consultancy jobs end up in the hands of consummate B.S.ers. Half of consultancy is appearing professional and knowledgeable. The other half is actually knowing what to do. You have the second half nailed. Your only obstacle is self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

The payoff? Anywhere from $28 to $55 per hour.

Putting it All Together

As a hygienist, your side hustle should net you a minimum of $25/hr. That’s the minimum you’re worth. Avoid all of these “gig economy” apps and recycled “how-to” posts (no, you cannot just start a blog and make $25/hr, 99 percent of blogs earn $0 per year). Instead, focus on leveraging your existing skills to earn big in the dental landscape.

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