• linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    The latest hourly and annual salary numbers for dentists and dental assistants

    Looking at the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics – and what it means to you.


    Where they work

    Maybe it’s the surf, the sun or the movie stars, but California was home to the most dentists – 14,950 – with an annual salary of $164,330. In second place was Texas with 8,420 and New York has slightly fewer dentists with 7,710. They earned $171, 850 and $170,300, respectively.

    Most of New York’s dentists (6,010) are located in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains region. Obviously, that region isn’t just accounting for New York doctors as it also includes portions of New Jersey. Of California’s almost 15,000 dentists, 3,790 work in the Los Angeles region.

    But location doesn’t necessarily correlate to salary. For instance, Vermont had the fewest dentists – just 170 – but earned almost $26,000 a year more than the national average ($185,560 per year). Delaware – also with a relatively low number of dentists (340) – boasts the highest salary -- $236,130 per year ($113.47 per hour).

    It looks like North Carolina is a really great place to be a dentist – there were 3,190 earning $236,020 per year ($113.47 per hour).

    Related reading: The best and worst states to work in a dental practice

    A population that needs dentists

    The outlook for dentists is very positive, and a lot of that demand can be attributed to the Baby Boomers. In 2014 there were 131,500 dentists and the profession is expected to grow to 178,200 by 2024. This is an 18 percent growth, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

    This growth is attributed to demand for dental services as the population ages; cosmetic dental services are expected to become even more popular; and as access to health insurance continues to grow.

    This growth will mean higher demand for others in the profession. With more dentists will come the need for more hygienists and assistants. Also, someone will need to make the crowns and bridges for those doctors’ patients – thus a need for more dental lab technicians.

    Doctors will see more work and productivity from new technologies – like digital dentistry – which will reduce the amount of time needed to see individual patients. The result is expected to be an expansion of their practices and the ability to see more patients.

    It seems that patients’ good dental habits in the past will fuel the need for more dentists in the future. The aging Baby Boomer generation, overall, did a nice job keeping their teeth – more so than earlier generations – and someone needs to continue that care in the years to come.

    Further, with more advanced dental work being available – like implants, for instance – doctors will also be needed for those procedures. And, as the risk of oral cancer increases with age, compilations from such cases will necessitate cosmetic and functional dental work.

    Trending article: New CDC study finds high periodontal disease prevalence in Southern U.S. states

    Cosmetic dentistry is becoming more popular, and there will continue to be a need for doctors who offer teeth-whitening, veneers and so forth. This trend is expected to grow as technologies, products and services make these procedures more accessible.

    Additionally, many dentists are expected to retire in the next decade (again, the Baby Boomers) and replacements will be needed to fill those positions.

    Technology brings an interesting twist to the profession, while, at the same time, offering a great opportunity. With technological advances becoming more and more prevalent, dentists will have to be able to embrace that type of work. Happily, newly graduating dentists have grown up with computers and are no strangers to the changing face of technology, so they will be ready with those skillsets and be comfortable as technologies evolve and change.


    Next: The stats broken down by state

    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


    Add Comment
    • No comments available