How Much Do Dentists Make?

dentist job descriptionDentists are health practitioners that prevent, diagnose, and treat oral disorders and diseases of the mouth, teeth, and gums.

They normally work in their own business or clinic – either by themselves, or with a team of staff.

Dentists in the United States are in demand because more and more people are becoming aware that oral health is associated with overall general health – which means this profession offers a highly lucrative career option for many students in the science track.

Dentist Salary

Are you wondering how much do dentists make? Dentists’ starting salary differs on whether or not he practices in a shared clinic, in a business of his own, alone, or with a team. The average dentist salary also differs depending on years of experience, location, hours worked, and specialty. The annual median pay is .

Dentist salaries at the lower end of the spectrum have an annual median pay of $72,8400 and below, while the average salary of top earners are at $208,000 and above.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Delaware flagDelaware0.68$108.09$224,830
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.68$104.92$218,230
Alaska FlagAlaska0.66$98.98$205,880
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.75$98.95$205,820
Vermont FlagVermont0.56$98.44$204,760

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Offices of Dentists10.01$81.42$169,360
Management of Companies and Enterprises$79.41$165,180
State Government 0.05$75.13$156,270
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 0.04$73.74$153,380
Employment Services0.02$73.37$152,610

What Do Dentists Do?

what do dentists doDentists perform a variety of procedures on different kinds of patient needs.

Generally, a dentist’s job description involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions and diseases of the teeth, gums, bones, and most parts of the mouth.

They also provide advice and instruction to patients on how to take care of their oral health, as well as prescribe and provide medication for pain and treatment of the diagnosed conditions.

Among a dentist’s duties are to remove decay, fill in cavities, clean teeth, repair cracked or fractured teeth, extract damaged and decaying teeth, perform x-ray procedures on the teeth, jaw, and gums, whiten teeth, correct crooked teeth, and administer anesthetics for minor and major oral surgical procedures.

Dentists also use a variety of equipment that allows them to perform their duties, such as x-ray machines, drills, forceps, scalpels, probes, mouth mirrors, lasers, digital scanners, and other tools and technology.

Dentists also employ a number of people, which include receptionists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and laboratory technicians.

Dentist Specialty Areas

There are 9 types of specialists in dentistry, which are:

  • Dental Public Health Specialists – dentists who promote dental health and prevent dental diseases;
  • dentist salaryEndodontists – dentists who perform root-canal therapy;
  • Orthodontists – dentists who straighten teeth through braces and other applications;
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons – those who operate on the mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, and head, such us repairing a cleft lip;
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists – dentists who diagnose diseases in the neck and head;
  • Oral Pathologists – dentists who diagnose conditions and diseases;
  • Pediatric Dentists – those who specialize in children’s oral health, as well as individuals with special needs;
  • Prosthodontists – dentists who replace missing or damaged teeth;
  • Periodontists – dentists who treat gums and the bones that support the teeth.

How do You Become a Dentist?

In order to obtain a dentist career, you must acquire a bachelor’s degree before proceeding to dental school.

Though it is not required that you study in the field of the sciences, your chances of getting accepted in an institution will be higher if you have a degree in the sciences such as in biology and chemistry.

Those who intend to proceed to dental school right after college can take the DAT or the Dental Acceptance Test during their junior year. The test results, grade point average, and other requirements will be needed for acceptance to dental schools.

For those who want to specialize in a specific field, 1 to 2 years of residency in the program related to the specialty is required. For those who want to teach and/or do dental research full time, an additional 2-5 years of training is a requirement.

Dentists must be licensed in all states, but requirements vary from state to state.

Dentists Career Outlook

Employment in dentistry is predicted to rise by from the years 2016 to 2026. With this likely increase in dentist employment, an increase in other dental professions is also likely to occur, such as an increase in the demand for dental assistants, dental hygienists, and other related professions.

The projected development of new technologies in the field of dentistry is also seen to lower the time it needs to complete certain dental procedures, resulting to more patients being able to be handled by dentists.

Projected increases of cosmetic dental services are also seen to occur, due to the popularity of whitening and other less invasive procedures.

Dentist Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.514$83.28$173,220
Alaska FlagAlaska0.66$98.98$205,880
Arizona FlagArizona0.885$68.22$141,890
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.681$77.17$160,520
California FlagCalifornia0.799$74.65$155,270
Colorado flagColorado0.895$75.98$158,050
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.759$88.20$183,460
Delaware flagDelaware0.684$108.09$224,830
Florida FlagFlorida0.74$78.64$163,570
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.594$91.64$190,620
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.718$80.51$167,470
Idaho FlagIdaho0.702$81.42$169,360
Illinois FlagIllinois0.619$68.26$141,980
Indiana FlagIndiana0.675$69.12$143,780
Iowa FlagIowa0.559$83.89$174,480
Kansas FlagKansas0.544$83.52$173,720
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.453$72.57$150,950
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.452$71.27$148,240
Maine FlagMaine0.521$98.02$203,890
Maryland FlagMaryland0.977$76.84$159,830
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts1.058$84.27$175,280
Michigan FlagMichigan0.904$77.42$161,040
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.623$93.12$193,690
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.604$73.31$152,490
Missouri FlagMissouri0.643$81.08$168,650
Montana FlagMontana1.004$62.69$130,390
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.473$72.66$151,130
Nevada FlagNevada0.831$69.60$144,770
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.682$104.92$218,230
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.624$75.31$156,640
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.936$90.35$187,920
New York FlagNew York0.943$78.86$164,030
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.75$98.95$205,820
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.491$88.27$183,600
Ohio FlagOhio0.657$89.47$186,100
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.821$71.07$147,820
Oregon FlagOregon0.717$81.31$169,110
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.647$80.14$166,690
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.735$88.07$183,180
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.795$88.05$183,150
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.946$79.13$164,590
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.362$83.10$172,850
Texas FlagTexas0.632$89.31$185,760
Utah FlagUtah0.968$54.32$112,990
Vermont FlagVermont0.562$98.44$204,760
Virginia FlagVirginia0.798$76.34$158,780
Washington FlagWashington0.776$85.53$177,890
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.548$81.53$169,590
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.703$85.66$178,180
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.837$88.22$183,490

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Farmington, NM 0.64
Lafayette, IN$127.17$264,500
Brownsville / Harlingen, – TX 0.59$123.50$256,870
Wausau, WI 0.92$122.92$255,670
Jacksonville, NC $122.91$255,660

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Southwestern Wyoming – nonmetropolitan area $118.64$246,760
Western – Central North Carolina – nonmetropolitan area $116.91$243,180
Upper Savannah – South Carolina – nonmetropolitan area 0.96$114.34$237,830
Eastern New Mexico – nonmetropolitan area$113.67$236,420
South Georgia – nonmetropolitan area 0.53$113.22$235,500

Dentist Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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