Interesting Facts About This Profession: Dentists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dentists held 151,500 jobs in the United States in 2014. In May 2016, the median annual wage for dentists was $159,770, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $67,660 and the top 10 percent earning greater than $208,000. Orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons had median annual wages greater than $208,000, while general dentists had median wages of $153,900 and median prosthodontists earned $126,000. All other dental specialists in aggregrate earned a median income of $173,000 in the same 2016 survey. Most dentists (93.4%) worked in a dental office, but small minorities worked in hospitals (2.9%) and outpatient care facilities (1.5%). The most popular states to practice general dentistry were California (14,950 dentists), Texas (8,420) and New York (7,710), followed by Florida (5,900) and Illinois (4,450). Annual mean wages for general dentists were highest in Delaware ($236,130), followed closely by North Carolina ($236,020) and Alaska ($234,240). The areas with the highest levels of employment were located in New York City/Jersey City, Los Angeles, and Chicago metropolitan areas. The top paying metropolitan area was Peabody-Salem-Beverly, MA ($283,550), followed by Columbus, GA ($282,930), and Eugene, OR ($282,810). Over 75% of all dentists identified as White, while the next most common identified as Asian (17.2%). The median age of all dentists was 47.3. The average age of male dentists is 50 while females are younger at 42 years of age. According an American Student Dental Association study of 2016 graduates, the average debt was $261,149 on graduation, while 80% reported more than $100,000 in debt. While average student debt rose four-fold from 1990, the future of the field appears bright as there is projected to be a 18% increase in employment from 2014 to 2024, while all occupations are only estimated to grow 7% during the same time. A significant number of dentists (baby boomers) are expected to retire and sell their dental practice within the next 15-20 years. Dental practices for sale in New York and California cost, on average, 19% higher than those dental practices sold in other areas of the US. Industry consolidation continues to remain high in dentistry as large corporations and entities continue to own and operate multiple locations, employing dentists as subcontractors. Because of this, most dental practices sold were bought by corporations and larger entities, especially in larger cities.


  • 1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dentists.
  • 2. Data USA: Dentists
  • 3. American Student Dental Association. Dental Student Debt.

Dental Practices for Sale and Office Space For Rent 

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