How much does a dentist make?
The median salary for non-specialized dentists is $160,370, which translates to $77.10 per hour.
Dentists who specialize can earn even more. Oral surgeons earn an average of $237,570, orthodontists earn $230,830 and prosthodontists earn $143,730. All other dentist specialties earn a mean annual income of $179,400.
That said, dentist wages range widely based on location and experience.
Among non-specialized dentists, the median income of the top-earning 10% is over $208,000 — more than double the salary of the lowest-earning 10%, who make less than $62,810.
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States where dentists earn the most
Dentists tend to earn more in the northeast corner of the U.S. In Delaware, dentists earn 68.5% more than the national average.
The top five earning states are:
- Delaware: $233,860
- New Hampshire: $225,140
- Oregon: 207,370
- Rhode Island: $206,600
- Connecticut: $197,910
Metropolitan areas where dentists earn the most
Dentist salaries get even more jaw-dropping when you break data into top-paying metropolitan areas.
Here are the top eight areas for which full data is available:
- Manchester, NH: $276,510
- Salinas, CA: $234,410
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $229,800
- Eugene, OR: $228,750
- New Haven, CT: $227,390
If you weren’t open to relocating, you may want to reconsider. In the Manchester area of New Hampshire, dentists earn over $100,000 more than the national average.
Plus, these high-paying dental zones don’t correlate with high cost of living cities like New York, San Francisco and Boston.
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Average dentist salaries by state
Wondering how much dentists earn in your area? Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics mean salary data broken down by state:
|New Jersey||Estimates not released|
How does the average salary for dentists compare to other jobs?
Pulling in an average of $160,370 per year is quite the achievement. But as far as dental jobs go, general dentists actually fall near the bottom of the list.
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeon: $237,570
- Orthodontist: $230,830
- Other specialized dentist: $179,400
- General dentist: $160,370
- Prosthodontist: $143,730
- Dental hygienist: $81,360
According to the American Dental Education Association, the average dental student graduated with $301,583 of student debt in 2021. So if you discover your humble $160,370-per-year salary doesn’t cut it, there are plenty of ways to specialize and grow.
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