How Much Do Dentists Make?

In Salary
November 17, 2016

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.

StateEmploymentEmp. / 1000Location QuotientHourlyAnnual
Delaware3300.761.04$109.21$227,160
New Hampshire4300.680.94$104.71$217,790
Alaska2000.620.85$104.38$217,120
North Dakota2400.540.74$103.1$214,450
North Carolina3,1600.771.06$101.62$211,370
Wisconsin2,0100.721$97.87$203,570
Nevada8500.690.96$93.93$195,360
South Carolina1,6700.871.19$93.92$195,350
Oregon1,0900.630.86$93.25$193,960
Minnesota1,7600.640.88$92.94$193,320
Ohio3,2800.620.85$91.96$191,270
Idaho4600.710.98$91.89$191,140
Connecticut1,2300.741.02$90.66$188,580
Maine3600.610.84$89.08$185,290
Iowa8600.560.77$89.07$185,270
Washington2,1100.710.98$87.97$182,990
Kansas9500.690.96$87.66$182,340
Vermont1800.60.83$87.00$180,970
Rhode Island3500.731.01$86.65$180,220
Massachusetts3,4701.021.41$86.25$179,390
Colorado1,9200.781.08$85.92$178,710
Mississippi7000.640.88$85.87$178,610
Georgia2,4500.60.82$85.36$177,540
Tennessee1,0000.350.49$84.65$176,080
Alabama9800.520.71$84.07$174,870
New York8,1900.911.14$81.97$173,980
Texas8,1400.70.97$82.63$171,870
Arkansas7500.640.88$82.43$171,450
Wyoming2500.871.2$82.38$171,340
New Mexico7700.961.33$82.01$170,570
California12,8700.831.14$81.97$170,490
Florida5,5700.70.97$81.86$170,270
Michigan3,7400.91.24$81.29$169,080
Kentucky8200.450.61$80.99$168,460
New Jersey2,5600.650.9$80.14$166,700
Missouri1,8600.680.94$79.81$166,000
West Virginia4200.590.82$78.66$163,610
Maryland2,3800.921.26$76.11$158,310
Virginia2,8600.781.07$75.02$156,040
Arizona2,0800.81.11$74.97$155,940
Oklahoma1,2500.781.08$74.64$155,250
Hawaii5300.861.18$74.46$154,880
South Dakota3400.811.12$73.98$153,880
Nebraska5300.550.76$73.78$153,460
Pennsylvania3,9400.690.95$72.41$150,620
Illinois3,6100.620.85$71.83$149,400
Montana4100.921.27$70.79$147,250
Indiana2,0500.690.96$70.56$146,760
Louisiana8200.420.58$66.87$139,000
Utah1,1000.831.15$58.34$121,340
DCNo dataNo dataNo data$50.55$104,920

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