How Much Do Dentists Make on Average (Salary)

How much do dentists make? What's the average salary of a dentist? Although being a dentist takes much study and effort, the financial rewards can be enormous.

What is a dentist?

The mouth, teeth, gums, and other associated regions are all covered by dentistry. According to several research, disorders of the teeth and gums might be signs or symptoms of other health problems. The mouth's health is vital to the body's overall health, and a dentist will encourage and help their patients in keeping their mouths healthy with frequent cleanings and check-ups.

dentist salary

What does a dentist do?

A dentist is responsible for a variety of critical tasks related to oral health. Check-ups are a crucial aspect of the work for patients who want to stay on top of their dental health. General dentistry includes basic procedures that can be performed in a normal dental clinic in addition to general check-ups. Filling a cavity, conducting a small surgical operation such as a tooth extraction, and cleaning and polishing teeth are examples of such procedures.

Brushing, flossing, and having regular cleanings are all healthy practices that a dentist will urge patients to do since they can help prevent cavities and other tooth and gum problems.

Specific specializations within dentistry need further training, resulting in competence in a specific field. Specialties include the following:


An endodontist performs root canal treatments and other procedures and examinations involving the inner tooth's internal tissues or "pulp," which is mostly made up of nerves and blood vessels; an endodontist performs root canal treatments and other procedures and examinations involving the inner tooth's internal tissues or "pulp."


An orthodontist will install braces and treat abnormalities with misaligned teeth; will also deal with difficulties concerning bone in and around the mouth area that can be connected to other health issues.


Periodontics is the region around the tooth, including the gums and other tissues; a periodontist will treat gum disease and other gum problems.


Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with aesthetic dentistry and the look of teeth; a prosthodontist places implants to replace missing teeth and manages other oral prostheses.

Pediatric dentistry

Dentist for children - specialized in treating children's teeth; can collaborate with other experts if particular issues (such as gum disease) arise.

How much do dentists make?

In the United States, the average annual pay for a dentist is $199,363. Dentistry is one of the most well-paid medical specialties. Dentists who operate their own practice can earn substantially more money than the typical person. In the area of dentistry, oral surgeons and endodontists receive the highest pay.

The geographic location and type of practice have an impact on a dentist's pay. Those that give services to a heavily populated or rich region should expect to earn more money. Salary potential is also affected by the number of dentists in the area; the fewer the dentists, the better the earning potential. Once you've built a patient base and hired other dentists to work for you, opening your own practice offers you more control over your revenue.

According to the most current Bureau of Labor Statistics statistics, the average dental pay is $178,260. However, this figure can not accurately reflect how much dentists earn. The American Dental Association, for example, looks at a dentist's net income, which includes all of a practice's costs. According to the most recent data from the American Dental Association, the average net salary for general dentists is $190,440.

The American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute conducts an annual survey of dental practice. The figures below are based on a combination of responses from our poll from 2021.

dentist salary

Wages per week

The national average is $3,200 per week.

Wages per month

The national average is $13,867 per month.

Wages per hour

The national average is $80 per hour.

Average dentist salary by state

South Dakota, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Iowa are the highest paying states for dentists. Here are the average salaries in each state in the United States:

  • Alabama: $175,304 per year
  • Alaska: $176,365 per year
  • Arizona: $210,700 per year
  • Arkansas: $167,593 per year
  • California: $222,896 per year
  • Colorado: $219,246 per year
  • Connecticut: $156,111 per year
  • Delaware: $187,526 per year
  • Florida: $209,024 per year
  • Georgia: $214,707 per year
  • Hawaii: $211,439 per year
  • Idaho: $212,117 per year
  • Illinois: $181,279 per year
  • Indiana: $154,012 per year
  • Iowa: $222,920 per year
  • Kansas: $206,409 per year
  • Kentucky: $201,823 per year
  • Louisiana: $212,300 per year
  • Maine: $194,711 per year
  • Maryland: $190,398 per year
  • Massachusetts: $206,392 per year
  • Michigan: $204,463 per year
  • Minnesota: $178,520 per year
  • Mississippi: $182,965 per year
  • Missouri: $202,329 per year
  • Montana: $131,237 per year
  • Nebraska: $162,836 per year
  • Nevada: $228,103 per year
  • New Hampshire: $182,035 per year
  • New Jersey: $161,351 per year
  • New Mexico: $196,775 per year
  • New York: $166,084 per year
  • North Carolina: $172,113 per year
  • North Dakota: $148,717 per year
  • Ohio: $209,711 per year
  • Oklahoma: $197,246 per year
  • Oregon: $205,308 per year
  • Pennsylvania: $189,493 per year
  • Rhode Island: $110,037 per year
  • South Carolina: $225,184 per year
  • South Dakota: $265,802 per year
  • Tennessee: $186,194 per year
  • Texas: $204,124 per year
  • Utah: $223,223 per year
  • Vermont: $174,316 per year
  • Virginia: $173,151 per year
  • Washington: $201,008 per year
  • West Virginia: $164,833 per year
  • Wisconsin: $185,815 per year
  • Wyoming: $146,744 per year

National average dentist salaries provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (source).

Job market outlook for dentists

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the number of dental jobs is anticipated to rise by 7% between 2018 and 2028, faster than the overall job growth rate. Dentists will remain in great demand for the foreseeable future, according to this research. Dentists are in high demand, even when compared to other healthcare professions, especially in regions with an elderly population. New possibilities for dentists will emerge as medical research continues to link oral health to overall wellbeing, boosting the demand for skilled practitioners.

Common questions

What dental fields pay the most, other than a private practice?

Dentists work in a variety of settings, including residential institutions for people with impairments, state government facilities and hospitals, and other medical professionals' offices. These jobs generally pay less than private practice, but they don't require dentists to manage a business in addition to caring for patients, which can appeal to some.

How do dentists salaries compare to other medical professionals?

Dentists in the United States earn an average of $199,363 a year. Physicians make an average of $202,529 per year, while physician assistants earn an average of $104,953.

What's the highest-paid dental specialty?

Oral surgeons are typically the highest paid dental practitioners. The average salary for these professions is above $200,000.

How can I increase a dentist's salary?

One approach for a dentist to make more money is to broaden their area of practice. You can earn more money if you provide aesthetic dentistry procedures and operations in addition to basic dental care. Another way to boost your earnings is to specialize. An orthodontist, for example, is a dentist who specializes in the alignment of the jaws and teeth. Orthodontists earn an average of $256,491 a year in the United States, which is much more than a general dentist.

Does the ADA have income information for dentists during their first year?

No, the number of dental school graduates each year is typically too small to report meaningful figures due to national sampling.

What's a dentist's average net income?

The average net income for dentists in private practice in 2020, according to the Survey of Dental Practice (source), was $170,160 for general dentists and $323,780 for specialists.

Related jobs

If you want to work in dentistry but not as a dentist, here are three options to explore. These occupations do not need the same amount of formal schooling as dentists:

Dental technician

Dental technician's average hourly wage is $15.32.

Primary responsibilities: Dental technicians operate in a laboratory setting, fabricating dental prostheses to dentists' requirements. In most cases, these experts have no direct interaction with patients. A dental laboratory professional is another name for this occupation.

Dental assistant

Dental assistants earn an average of $17.69 per hour in the United States.

Primary responsibilities: Dental assistants assist a dentist at the patient's side but cannot do treatments on their own. Setting out the tools the dentist will require, assisting with appointment scheduling and patient communication, and taking X-rays are among duties that a dental assistant can undertake.

Dental hygienist

Dental hygienists earn an average of $38.40 per hour in the United States.

Primary responsibilities: Dental hygienists work under the direction of a dentist to offer basic dental treatment. Because this profession necessitates more education than an assistant, the typical compensation is much greater. Hygienists clean patients' teeth, teach them how to properly care for their teeth, and examine the teeth and gums for symptoms of illness or injury. Hygienists' scope of practice differs by state.

Favorite Resources

Our favorite resources are included below.

Job interview resources

Resume and cover letter resources

Job search resources

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Download PDF
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.


Help us by spreading the word