Career Advice > Salary

How Much Do Dentists Make?

If you’re wondering how much dentists make, you’ve come to the right place. This article takes an in-depth look at job growth and salaries of general dentists across the country over the next decade.

Dentists diagnose and treat conditions affecting the teeth, gums, and mouth. They're main responsibility is to provide preventive and restorative care, such as performing root canals, fillings, extractions, bridges, and general inspections, as well as offering hygiene advice to patients.

If you’re considering a job in healthcare, now is a great time to look into dentistry as a career. As with many other careers in the healthcare field, the demand for dentists is expected to rise over the next decade with the retirement of the Baby Boomer dentists, creating a shortage and high demand for skilled professionals in the field.

How Much Do Dentists Make?

How much a dentist can make via salary can vary dramatically depending on several factors, including location, age, experience, education, skill-level, type of position and several others.

As represented in the graph below, dentists without any further specialization or production incentives can expect to earn a median hourly wage of $68.48, or $142,428 per year.

Dentist Salary Graph - How Much Do Dentists Make?

However, you can directly influence this figure to increase your income well over six figures by specializing in a particular area, working out production incentives, doing consulting work, or working as a contractor or by being self-employed.

Return on Investment for Dentists

In order to become a dentist, students must pursue a either a bachelor’s or preprofessional degree which will generally take 4 years of your time. This must be followed by the completion of a 4-year Doctor of Dental Surgery program and the required state license. In total, future dentists are looking at a minimum of 8 years of high education, and the costs that come along with it.

The return on investment for dentists will ultimately vary based on the individual, their circumstances, the school of choice, the location in which they work, whether they choose to work in corporate or private practices, and other factors.

Regardless of which path you choose, with a projected 60,00 new dentists being employed between 2016 and 2030, you can be confident that you will be high demand for the foreseeable future.

Best States for Dentist Salaries

A major factor in determining what your salary may look like is the location in which you plan to work. However, this principle applies to nearly all occupations largely due to the varying cost-of-living rates across the country.

If you're looking to make the most possible, consider the number of dentists residing in that state as well as the cost of living. Areas that are in need of dental professionals will pay top-dollar to attract skilled professionals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects salary and employment data for nearly all positions, nationwide. The following table ranks all 50 states from the highest to lowest paying for dentists:

*Location quotients serve as a statistical representation of the concentration of a resource, like jobs, with a broader base area.


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