Career Choice: Dentist

Career Choice: Dentist
  • Type: Career Type
  • Opening Intro -

    General dentists “...examine, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    These professionals may also treat diseases related to dental tissue that affects oral hygiene and that threatens the retention of teeth.


Dentists conduct preventive care and may fit patients with dental appliances. Every state requires dentists to be licensed, a far cry from the day when barbers routinely pulled teeth. Dental school candidates typically have a bachelor’s degree which includes two years of pre-dental training. Dental school programs usually last for four academic years with additional training for orthodontists and other specialists.

Salary Information

As of May 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dentists earned a mean annual salary of $158,770. The bureau does not list salary limits for work that offers compensation of about $80 per hour or $166,400 per year, however dentist salaries range from $71,390 to well over $200,000 per year. New dentists can expect to make somewhere between the lowest percentile and the 25th percentile, or $100,650 per year.

Employment Information

Most dentists work for themselves or with other dentists in a private practice. Of the 87,700 dentists reported employed in 2010 by the BLS, approximately 90 percent work in offices of dentists, earning $161,410 per year on average. Doctor’s offices employ small numbers of dentists who earned an average annual salary of $135,890. Those working for state government earned $150,500; outpatient care services paid $138,980, while hospitals paid far below the national mean averaging $106,140 per year.

Geographic Data

Dentists are fairly evenly distributed across the United States, although there is a shortage of dentists in some rural areas. Average pay varied dramatically too with Utah having the lowest mean wages at $115,070 and New Hampshire with the highest average annual salaries at $222,860. Other states offering top mean pay included North Dakota at $207,810; Maine at $205,050; Iowa at $202,750; and North Carolina at $196,060. Other states reporting salary data ncluded California at $146,760; Texas at $163,990; and West Virginia at $133,540. Among metropolitan areas offering salaries well above the national mean were Rocky Mount, North Carolina, at $242,300; Chico, California, at $238,950; and Yakima, Washington, at $238,520.

Job Outlook

Students considering a career as a dentist know that extensive schooling and training is required to prepare them for this field. The bureau projects that demand for general practice dentists will increase by 15 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the rate for all jobs. As older dentists retire or cut back on hours, opportunities for new dentists will arise. This field, however, rises and falls with the economy, as patients will sometimes put off dental care if they don’t have insurance or other financial matters weigh in. Those dentists who choose to specialize, such as working as orthodontists and prosthodontists, will see even stronger demand for their skills.


O-Net Online: Summary Report for: 29-1021.00 – Dentists, General; 2010

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; Dentists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics; Dentists; 2010

SaleBestseller No. 1
Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss, Mint, 6 Count
  • Effectively removes tough plaque between teeth and just below the gum line.
  • Silky-smooth, shred-resistant texture
  • Slides up to 50% more easily in tight spaces vs. regular floss
SaleBestseller No. 2
Oral-B Complete Satin Dental Floss Mint, 50m, Twin Pack
402 Reviews
Oral-B Complete Satin Dental Floss Mint, 50m, Twin Pack
  • Releases a burst of mint freshness
  • Satin-like texture
  • Comfort grip
SaleBestseller No. 3
Johnson & Johnson Reach Mint Waxed Dental Floss, 5 Count
499 Reviews
Johnson & Johnson Reach Mint Waxed Dental Floss, 5 Count
  • Fresh minty taste
  • Removes up to 52% more plaque than non-waxed
  • It slides easily and comes with an extra shred resistant

Last update on 2020-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


end of post idea


Helpful article? Leave us a quick comment below.
And please share this article within your social networks.

facebook linkedin pinterest

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The commission earnings are used to defray our cost of operation.

View our FTC Disclosure for other affiliate information.

Categories: Career Planning