Highest-Paid Dental Specialties

April 4, 2023


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 5/13/22

Are you planning on becoming a dentist and wondering what the highest-paid dental specialties are? Well, we got you covered! This article will provide a list and an overview of their salaries.

Often, when we think about health, our dental hygiene is the last thing that comes to mind. But little did you know that our oral health is extremely important and is linked to our overall well-being. 

For instance, cardiovascular diseases might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause. 

Dentists help care for our oral health and help diagnose and treat any problems that might occur orally and prevent them from getting worse and causing other health problems. They help fill cavities, install crowns, and examine x-rays for signs of problems. 

Dentistry is a highly specialized field that requires years of education and training to master. There are numerous dental specialties, each with its own unique set of skills and expertise. While all dental professionals play an essential role in maintaining oral health, some dental specialties are in higher demand and command higher salaries than others. 

This article will explore the highest-paid dentists, their job outlook, and how much they make annually. If you want to learn more about this profession and its potential salary earnings, keep reading!

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Top 10 Highest-Paid Dental Specialties

Below is a list of the 10 highest-paid dental specialties in the US. 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 

Average annual salary: $335,093

Job outlook (2021-2031): 4.6%

As specialized dental professionals, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat complex dental, jaw, and facial issues. They perform various surgical procedures to address common problems, including cleft palettes, misaligned jaws, and dental implants. 

Additionally, they treat more serious conditions, such as sleep apnea and oral cancer. These professionals can work in a hospital or office setting and are typically referred to by primary dentists or physicians.


Average annual salary: $304,337

Job outlook (2021-2031): 4.5%

An orthodontist is a specialized dental professional trained to diagnose, prevent, and correct dental irregularities, including misaligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists use various methods, such as braces, clear aligners, and other appliances, to gradually move teeth and adjust jaw positioning, resulting in a more balanced and functional bite.

Orthodontic treatment can correct various dental issues, including crowded or crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and gaps between teeth. 

These professionals help patients improve their quality of life and smile!


Average annual salary: $301,744

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

According to the American Association of Endodontists, less than 3% of dentists are endodontists. 

These professionals possess skills in diagnosing and treating tooth pain that originates from issues within the tooth pulp. They aim to preserve and reinstate teeth by conducting root canals and other procedures, rather than resorting to extraction and replacement. 

Dental Anesthesiology

Average annual salary: $269,958

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

A dental anesthesiologist is a dental specialist trained in administering anesthesia to patients undergoing dental procedures. This type of specialist has completed additional anesthesiology education and training after dental school.

Dental anesthesiologists provide various levels of sedation and anesthesia to help patients manage pain and discomfort during dental procedures, such as extractions, root canals, and implant placement. They work closely with the dental team to monitor the patient's vital signs and ensure their safety and comfort throughout the procedure.

Pediatric Dentistry

Average annual salary: $253,318

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

Pediatric dentists are specifically trained to address issues related to a child's dental development, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and dental injuries. They also provide preventive care, such as dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, and sealants, to help children maintain healthy teeth and gums.

In addition to clinical care, pediatric dentists educate children and their parents about good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups. 

They strive to create a positive and comfortable environment for children, helping them to feel at ease during dental visits and encouraging them to take an active role in their oral health.


Average annual salary: $248,500

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

A periodontist treats periodontal disease, gingivitis, and gum disease. They also have specialized knowledge in oral inflammation and dental implants. Periodontists also manage complex dental histories and address severe dental issues. Their main duties include:

  • Diagnosing and treating severe gum problems
  • Performing dental surgeries
  • Overseeing dental implant placement, upkeep, and restoration

Periodontists may also conduct dental implant consultations and utilize X-rays when necessary.


Average annual salary: $231,999

Job outlook (2021-2031): 5.1%

These professionals help restore and replace missing teeth and related oral structures. They are trained to diagnose, plan, and execute the treatment of dental and facial problems that involve restoring missing or damaged teeth and other oral and maxillofacial tissues. 

Prosthodontists are experts in designing, manufacturing, and fitting dental prostheses such as crowns, bridges, dentures, and dental implants, as well as treating sleep apnea with oral appliances. 

They work closely with other dental specialists, such as periodontists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists, to provide their patients with comprehensive and coordinated dental care.

Maxillofacial Prosthodontist

Average annual salary: $202,618

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

A maxillofacial prosthodontist is a dental specialist who has received additional training and education in the field of maxillofacial prosthetics, a subspecialty of prosthodontics. They focus on diagnosing, treating, and managing oral and facial defects or disabilities that may be present from birth or may have resulted from disease, trauma, or surgery.

Maxillofacial prosthodontists work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, head and neck oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They design and fabricate custom prosthetic devices that restore the normal function and appearance of the face, jaws, and mouth.

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

Average annual salary: $202,085

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

Oral and maxillofacial pathology is a branch of dentistry that involves studying, diagnosing, and treating various disorders and diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions, including the mouth, jaws, and salivary glands.

An oral and maxillofacial pathologist is a dental professional specializing in diagnosing and managing diseases, infections, and other conditions affecting the maxillofacial regions.

Oral and maxillofacial pathologists are trained to analyze tissue samples from these areas, including biopsies. They use specialized laboratory techniques to identify and diagnose various conditions, such as oral cancer, infections, and autoimmune disorders. 

They work closely with other dental and medical professionals to develop treatment plans and provide patient care.

General Dentistry 

Average annual salary: $174,642

Job outlook (2021-2031): 6.0%

This licensed dental professional provides oral health services to patients of all ages. Dentists provide preventive care such as dental cleanings, x-rays, oral cancer screenings, and restorative care like fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals. They may also provide cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers.

Dentists are also responsible for diagnosing and treating common dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. They may also work with dental specialists, such as orthodontists and oral surgeons, to provide more specialized patient care.

FAQs: Highest-Paid Dentists

If you still have questions about the highest-paid dental specialties, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. What Is the Highest Paying Dental Specialty?

The highest-paying dental specialty is oral and maxillofacial surgery. On average, dentists practicing in this specialty make $400,000 annually. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat injuries and head, neck, face, and jaw diseases.

2. Where Do Dentists Make the Most Money?

The highest-paid dentists reside in these states:

  • Delaware average dentist salary: $264,440
  • Alaska average dentist salary: $259,350
  • Rhode Island average dentist salary: $254,190
  • Minnesota average dentist salary: $227,280
  • New Hampshire average dentist salary: $226, 300

Despite the salary of a dentist being dependent on the state they practice in, a dentist can make a substantial amount of income no matter where they practice. 

3. What Is the Highest Dentist Salary in the US?

The highest dental salary in the US is the salary of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They can earn anywhere from $264,500 to $400,000 annually.

Final Thoughts

If you're thinking about becoming a dentist, you might be swayed to pursue a dental specialty that pays a generous salary. Just remember that the amount you make will depend on what state you live in and your years of experience.

However, don’t let the possibility of a generous salary persuade you into pursuing a specialty you’re not interested in. You’ll be spending a lot of time and money pursuing a career in the dental field, so you must pursue a specialty you enjoy. 

Good luck on your journey to becoming a dentist!

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