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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About the Author

Mitchell Glass

Mitchell Glass

Freelance Contributor

Mitchell is a freelance contributor to MoneyWise.com.

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