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Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Dental Lab Products. He is also the author of 18 technology books, including the award-winning Green IT: Reduce Your Information System's Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line. As such, he’s particularly interested in the technological side of dentistry.
We looked at each city and picked out the 10 best for dentists this year.
Dentists spend four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on dental school. And while there has to be some level of humanity and wanting to help people involved, nobody wants to do it just for the sheer altruism of it. Sure, dentists want to make money-the more the better-but just as important is living a good life, and a lot of that comes down to where the doctor practices. Dentists can set up shop anywhere in the country, but some communities are better than others. To that end, we compiled a list of the 10 best cities in the country for dentists.
We started by looking at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which gave us the top-earning cities in America (BLS reported data for 444 cities in 2017). However, there’s more to life than making money (general dentists earned an average of $158,120 in 2017). That’s when we started adding such factors as the overall economy, public safety, and so forth. Our complete list of metrics is:
Included, where available, is information about the total number in that profession for the community. Nationwide, there were 153,500 dentists. We couldn’t, however, include that as a metric by which to compare because complete data for all the cities wasn’t available.
In addition to BLS, we culled our rankings from personal finance website WalletHub.com, U.S. News & World Report’s Healthiest Community study, and the Journal of the American Medical Association’s study of longest life expectancy, by state.
We ranked each metric on a scale of one to 10, compiled them, and then honed the list from there. Whoever got the lowest score, earned the highest position on the list.
Click through the slides to find out the 10 best cities to be a dentist.
Underscoring the notion that money isn’t everything, the third highest-ranked city in terms of salary ($269,300 per year) is solidly at the bottom of our list. Oral health and stress are the second-worst on the list, but the community comes in last for community health, education, the economy, and public safety. Of course, coming in last on a list of the 10 best cities in the country (out of 444 total cities) isn’t such a bad place to be.
With an annual wage of “just” $254,000, dentists in Jackson, Michigan, earned the least of anyone on our list. The good news is that residents in the community take oral health pretty importantly, earning the No. 4 spot. Unfortunately, the city earned its place at the bottom of our list due to reasonably low scores in community health, its economy, and life expectancy.
Known as the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno, Nevada, has far and away the most dentists living and working there. It’s also solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of earnings ($263,880 per year). Dentists living there enjoy a reasonably robust economy and safe environment. Those positives are, unfortunately, offset by low rankings in oral health, education, and stress.
Dentists in Fort Wayne, Indiana, rank just behind their cohorts in Peabody-Salem-Beverly, Massachusetts in terms of salary-they earn an average $272,390 per year. The community’s overall health comes in toward the bottom of the pack in the No. 9 position. Public safety and stress also help cement its position at No. 8. Just 174 miles down I-69 from Bloomington, Indiana, Fort Wayne shares low marks for oral health and life expectancy.
Bloomington, Indiana, gets to share many sources of pride. Not only is the city the setting for the Academy Award-winning 1979 movie “Breaking Away” and home to the largest campus of the University of Indiana, but it also checks in as the sixth-best city for dentists. The dentists who live and work in Bloomington enjoy a community with a high level of education, and they also enjoy a reasonably high annual salary ($266,940). The community’s economy, stress, and oral health levels contribute to its solid rooting in the No. 6 position. Of the 10 cities that we’re looking at, it shares last place in life expectancy with Fort Wayne.
While the 100 dentists who live and work in Eugene, Oregon, enjoy a community with reasonably high life expectancy and community health rankings, our No. 5 entry has several rankings toward the bottom of the pack. Its economy is in the No. 9 position, and its education is ranked No. 8, as is the community’s oral health. On the other hand, its public safety and stress levels are firmly in the middle of the group. The community’s annual wage of $261,390, while still in the seventh position, is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Fond du Lac is situated at the southern point of Lake Winnebago in eastern Wisconsin, and the 50 dentists serving that city must be doing a great job. The community earns first-place honors in oral health (those dentists must be making an impact), and it also ranks No. 3 in overall community health and stress. With top honors for public safety, it’s one of the most danger-free places to live in the country. Somewhat surprisingly, Fond du Lac comes in toward the bottom of the list for overall salary at $256,230.
While we’re not sure exactly how many dentists are in Bismarck, North Dakota, we do know that the ones who live and work there enjoy a pretty good quality of life. North Dakota’s capital enjoys a community health score right after Rochester, Minnesota. Along with that, it has a low stress level and long life expectancy. Additionally, the community’s oral health score indicates the populace seems to take dental hygiene seriously, which is a good reflection of the area’s dentists.
It should come as a surprise to no one that Rochester, Minnesota, earns the top spot in terms of community health. The home of the Mayo Clinic earned this ranking from U.S. News & World Report’s Healthiest Communities study, which gave it a perfect 100 out of 100 score. That perfect health grade trickled down into other factors such as stress and life expectancy. While the rest of the rankings were solidly toward the top of the pack, the overall salary ($256,620) came in eighth place, but there are 120 dentists enjoying the benefits of living and working in the city.
Dentists in the Peabody-Salem-Beverly, Massachusetts, area seem to have it all. In addition to having the highest annual wage in the country, it comes in No. 1 in terms of education and economy. The community’s rankings don’t fall too far behind in terms of public safety, stress, and life expectancy. With only 60 doctors sharing this geographical good fortune, it’s surprising that word hasn’t gotten out yet.