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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:

  1. Delaware: $233,860
  2. New Hampshire: $225,140
  3. Oregon: 207,370
  4. Rhode Island: $206,600
  5. 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:

  1. Manchester, NH: $276,510
  2. Salinas, CA: $234,410
  3. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $229,800
  4. Eugene, OR: $228,750
  5. 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:

Average dentist salary by state
State Average salary
Alabama $176,910
Alaska $168,390
Arizona $175,030
Arkansas $184,540
California $165,950
Colorado $139,460
Connecticut $197,910
Delaware $233,860
Florida $164,370
Georgia $165,160
Hawaii $177,820
Idaho $124,750
Illinois $136,930
Indiana $159,240
Iowa $183,710
Kansas $188,240
Kentucky $136,480
Louisiana $148,060
Maine $187,460
Maryland $158,520
Massachusetts $175,140
Michigan $178,250
Minnesota $181,760
Mississippi $161,700
Missouri $167,240
Montana $152,770
Nebraska $146,170
Nevada $151,130
New Hampshire $225,140
New Jersey Estimates not released
New Mexico $189,430
New York $170,800
North Carolina $189,980
North Dakota $161,080
Ohio $180,920
Oklahoma $165,380
Oregon $207,370
Pennsylvania $159,450
Rhode Island $206,600
South Carolina $132,830
South Dakota $150,630
Tennessee $169,610
Texas $150,060
Utah $134,570
Vermont $190,030
Virginia $162,750
Washington $182,050
West Virginia $139,200
Wisconsin $183,110
Wyoming $148,730

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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Mitchell Glass Freelance Contributor

Mitchell is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.com.


The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.