Highest Paid Dental Specialties | US Dentistry Ranked List

October 3, 2023
6 min read
Contents

”Akhil

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

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

Reviewed: 10/3/23

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

Male dentist showing female patient xrays on screen

Often, when we think about health, our dental hygiene is the last thing that comes to mind. Little did you know that oral health is essential and linked to 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

Keep reading to learn more about how dental professionals are paid throughout the US. 

Dental Speciality Average Annual Salary
Dental Anesthesiologist $378,863
Dentist Private Practice $374,999
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery $336,000
Maxillofacial Prosthodontist $336,000
Orthodontist $323,587
Prosthodontist $313,745
Periodontist $310,357
Endodontist $309,078
Pediatric Dentist $256,389
General Dentist $201,209
Senior Dentist $126,708

Now that you know what salaries to expect for each role, let’s delve a bit deeper into what the role entails, its job outlook, and where to find the highest paying jobs.

Female dentist working on male patient

Dental Anesthesiologist

Average annual salary: $378,863

Job outlook (2022-2032): 7.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, New York, and Wyoming

Best Paying City: Berkeley

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.

Dentist Private Practice

Average annual salary: $374,999 

Job outlook (2022-2032): 4.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, New York, Wyoming

Best Paying City: Berkeley

Dentists in private practice are dedicated to preserving your oral health. They do check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays to find dental problems. If they discover issues, they plan and perform treatments like fillings, root canals, or tooth removal. 

Dentists in private practice not only provide cosmetic treatments to enhance your smile but also educate you on maintaining healthy teeth. Additionally, they handle the business aspects of their clinic. They continuously update their skills and knowledge to incorporate the latest dental techniques and technologies into their practice.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 

Average annual salary: $336,000

Job outlook (2021-2031): 4.6%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, and New York

Best Paying City: Berkeley

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.

Maxillofacial Prosthodontist

Average annual salary: $336,000

Job outlook (2022-2032): 4.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, New York, and Wyoming 

Best Paying City: Berkeley

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.

Orthodontist

Average annual salary: $323,587

Job outlook (2021-2031): 4.5%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, Nebraska, and Massachusetts 

Best Paying City: Berkeley

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 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!

Prosthodontist

Average annual salary: $313,745 

Job outlook (2021-2031): 5.1%

Best Paying States: California, Massachusetts, New York, and Alaska

Best Paying City: Sunnyvale

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.

Periodontist

Average annual salary: $310,357 

Job outlook (2022-2032): 6.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, Massasscutes, and Nebraska

Best Paying City: Berkeley

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 primary 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.

Endodontist 

Average annual salary: $309,078

Job outlook (2022-2032): 6.0%

Best Paying States: California, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington 

Best Paying City: San Jose

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.

Pediatric Dentist

Average annual salary: $256,389

Job outlook (2022-2032): 6.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, Alaska, and New Jersey 

Best Paying City: San Jose

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.

General Dentist 

Average annual salary: $201,209 

Job outlook (2022-2032): 4.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, Massasscutes, and Nebraska

Best Paying City: Sunnyvale

A general dentist provides essential dental care, focusing on routine check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays to maintain oral health. They treat common dental issues like cavities, tooth restoration, and infections through procedures like fillings, crowns, and root canals. 

General dentists also educate patients on oral hygiene and may refer them to specialists when needed. Their primary goal is to ensure patients have healthy teeth and gums.

Senior Dentist 

Average annual salary: $126,708

Job outlook (2022-2032): 4.0%

Best Paying States: California, Washington, Wyoming, and Virginia

Best Paying City: Santa Clara

Senior dentists play a pivotal role in dental care, and tend to have more work experience then regular dentists. They provide advanced patient care, including complex procedures like root canals and oral surgeries, while also offering general dental services. 

Beyond clinical work, senior dentists often mentor and supervise junior dental professionals, guiding their development. They excel in treatment planning, crafting comprehensive strategies to address patients' oral health needs.

Male dentist and female hygienist working on patient

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 $336,000. 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:

  • Rhode Island average dentist salary: $258,920
  • Vermont average dentist salary: $254,190
  • Alaska average dentist salary: $242,850
  • Maine average dentist salary: $236,060
  • New Hampshire average dentist salary: $222,430

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 $312,500-$400,000 per year. 

Final Thoughts

If you're considering becoming a dentist, you might be swayed to pursue a dental specialty with 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 to pursue 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 seek a specialty you enjoy. 

Good luck on your journey to becoming a dentist!

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