Locum tenens is usually a position that is offered when
a practitioner in private practice is going on holiday,
attending a congress, taking study leave or is absent from
practice due to illness or other reason, and therefore the
appointment is of short duration. The term locum tenens
originates from the Middle Ages and means "one holding
a place" and in the 1970s was generally used by medical
facilities where there was a shortage of medical doctors.
Remuneration is usually based on a percentage of fees
earned, or a set salary or a small basic salary coupled
with a percentage of gross earnings above an agreed
figure. Often when patients realise that their dentist will
be returning in the near future, many prefer to await their
return rather than being treated by a stranger, therefore it
is preferable for a locum to accept a fixed salary or a basic
salary plus commission.