Dentist

2022 SALARY SURVEY REPORT

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Dentist Overview

From late July through early September 2021, DentalPost conducted the largest and most comprehensive dental professional salary survey of its kind, generating participation from more than 13,000 dental professionals nationwide.

From compensation to work environments to the job turnover rate, here are some of the latest takeaways from responding dentists.

Our survey revealed dentists are working harder than last year with 18% working more than 40 hours a week and only 11% planning to retire next year. There is a large variance between general dentists who perform implant procedures compared with those who do not.

Highlights

29% plan to look for a new job this year.
$100K higher income earned, on average, by dental practice owners and partners compared with associates and employee dentists.
$300K average salary of dentists who are “satisfied” with their annual income.
29% of dentists said they are “not satisfied” when their average reported income was below $200K.
18% work more than 40 hours a week, while 21.5% work less than 21 hours a week.
11% plan to retire in the next two years.

Hours & Size of Dental Practice

  • Nearly 30% of the responding dentists work in dental practices with more than 10 team members.
  • Only 13.5% of responding dentists work with more than 15 team members.
  • Most dentists work between 30 and 40 hours a week.
  • Only 14% work fewer than 30 hours a week and 18% more than 40 hours a week.

How many team members do responding dentists work with?

Nearly half of responding dentists work in locations with 5 to 10 team members. 85% of dentists with larger teams of more than 15 team members work in private practice situations.

Hours dentists work per week

On average, 86% of dentists work more than 30 hours a week, and 18% work more than 40 hours a week. A greater percentage of female dentists (56%) work more than 35 hours a week than male dentists (47%). Our survey respondents were 75% practice owners and partners, so the hours of these practice stakeholders are well represented within these percentages.

  • 41% of male dentists, who are an owner or partner, work >35 hours per week.
  • 69% of female dentists, who are an owner or partner, work >35 hours per week.
  • 39% of all dentists would like to work fewer hours each week.

Dentist Primary Clinical Income

More than half of the responding dentists in private practices receive an annual salary. In corporate practices, 64% of responding dentists are paid based on a percentage of production.

Because many dentists have multiple sources of income, DentalPost asked respondents to indicate the basis of their primary income. Their primary clinical income is based on production for 64% of responding dentists in corporate practices and based on an annual salary for 56% of responding dentists in private practices. Fewer than 9% of all dentists are paid hourly or daily, and one-third of the hourly or daily paid dentists work in public and community health clinics.

Dentists’ average & median income reported by state

DentalPost asked the survey audience to enter the total income they anticipated making in 2021 from clinical practice. The following statistics reflect the total 2021 income reported by dentists who work more than 30 hours a week.

In the highest paying six locations, the average dentist income was $349,800 to $409,333. These are Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Iowa, and Massachusetts.

The average total income for all dentists responding to our 2021 survey is $258,500. Half of all responding dentists earn $200,000 or more.

State-by-state dentist income

2021 average income for dentists is greater than $350,000 in these states:
Mean(average)Median*
Washington, D.C.$409,333$400,000
Puerto Rico$400,000
Wisconsin$398,437$425,000
Hawaii$368,666$276,000
Iowa$357,875$275,000
2021 average income for dentists is $301,000 to $350,000 in these states:
Mean(average)Median*
Massachusetts$349,800$250,000
New Mexico$338,333$350,000
Connecticut$336,666$275,000
Tennessee$333,555$250,000
Missouri$318,863$250,000
Arizona$307,733$200,000
Florida$306,343$180,000
New Hampshire$305,000$200,000
North Carolina$304,200$250,000
Maryland$302,476$280,000
2021 average income for dentists is $251,000 to $300,000 in these states:
Mean(average)Median*
South Dakota$285,000
Rhode Island$283,333$150,000
Georgia$280,666$230,000
West Virginia$258,750$250,000
Texas$254,121$200,000
Indiana$252,759$220,000
New York$252,540$225,000
2021 average income for dentists is $201,000 to $250,000 in these states:
Mean(average)Median*
Washington$250,600$150,000
Illinois$250,473$190,000
Vermont$246,666$200,000
Minnesota$246,281$200,000
Michigan$241,388$240,000
Ohio$240,266$225,000
Nevada$234,666$204,000
Virginia$232,214$200,000
California$232,040$180,000
Kansas$230,000$150,000
New Jersey$229,680$190,000
Idaho$229,333$153,000
South Carolina$228,555$175,000
Alabama$224,156$210,000
Mississippi$221,444$150,000
Alaska$219,000$200,000
Utah$216,555$204,000
Nebraska$215,200$160,000
Kentucky$213,225$200,000
Pennsylvania$206,087$190,000
2021 average income for dentists is $100,000 to $200,000 in these states:
Mean(average)Median*
Colorado$184,625$175,000
Louisiana$182,900$165,000
Maine$170,000
Oregon$152,000$150,000
Arkansas$106,000$105,000

*50% of respondents in the state earn this income or higher.

Dentists’ Average Income by Experience, Position and Practice Type

In DentalPost’s 2021 salary survey of dentists, responding dentists provided details about their years of experience, position (owner/partner or associate/employee dentist), and the type of clinical practice they work in.

Dentists working in corporate practices, who had 5 to 14 years of experience, reported higher annual incomes than dentists in private practices with the same number of years of experience, but with additional years of experience, the pattern changes, and those in private practice earn more.

Owners of and partners in dental practices average $100,000 more a year than associate/employee dentists. This occurs across all years of experience.

  • Dentists seem to hit their peak income in corporate practices by 15 years of experience, whereas dentists in private practice hit their peak income at 25+ years.
  • Dentists in private practice make about $50,000 more than dentists in corporate practice.
  • Owners/partners in dental practices make about $100,000 more than associate/employee dentists in private and corporate practices.

In the following charts, the average incomes are for dentists who work 30+ hours a week.

*Other: Military, Public Health, Prison, Hospital, University

Implant vs. Non-implant Dentist Income

DentalPost asked responding dentists if they perform dental implant procedures. The general dentists in private practice who do implants, make on average $105,000 more per year than general dentists in private practice who do not. 

The variance in income is significantly greater in corporate practices where general dentists, who do implants make on average $129,000 more per year than general dentists who do not. This is correlated with the significantly greater percentage of dentists in corporate practices being paid based on a percentage of production (64% in corporate practices versus 44% in private practices).

Dentist Pay Raises & Income Satisfaction

One in five responding dentists received a pay increase within the last year.

  • Over half of the respondents are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their income.
  • The average income of the 29% who indicated dissatisfaction with their income is below $200,000.

What percentage of responding dentists received a pay raise in the last two years?

38% of responding dentists received a pay raise in the last two years.

Comparing owner/partner dentists to associate/employee dentists, a greater percentage of owners and partners received increases than employee dentists.

How significant were dentists’ pay increases in the last year?

Of the 20% of dentists reporting an increase in pay over the last year, the size of the increase varied considerably. One-third of the increases were in the range of 6% to 10%.

How satisfied are dentists with their income?

DentalPost asked dentists to indicate their level of satisfaction with their total compensation in 2021.

The average total clinical income of the nearly 22% who are “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” is lower than $200,000.

Dentist Job Turnover & Retirement

  • 11% of all dentists planned to retire in the next 2 years.
  • Within the next 12 months, 29% of associate/employee dentists intended to apply for a new job.

Dentist stability in current employment

Fewer than 4% of associate/employee dentists have been with their current employer for more than 15 years. Less than 11% have been with their current employer for 7 to 14 years. Employee dentists transition in great numbers to their own practice or a new employer between 3 to 6 years in practice.

How many employee dentists applied for a new job in the last year?

86% of respondents said they did not apply for a new job in the preceding 12 months. This number roughly matches the percentage who reported they worked in only one office in the last year.

How many responding employee dentists intended to look for a new job?

  • 22% intended to look for a new job within 6 months.
  • 7% intended to look for a new job in 6 to 12 months.
  • 4% intended to look for a new job in more than a year.
  • 13% were uncertain.
  • 54% did not intend to look for a new job.

60.5% of those who plan to look for a new job in the next year are between the ages of 25 and 44.

When do responding dentists plan to retire?

  • 27% of dentist plan to retire in the next four years, and another 31% within 10 years.
  • 20% of those who plan to retire in the next four years are currently under age 65.
  • 25% of all dentists age 65+ plan to work another 5 to 10 years.

Associate Dentist to Ownership Transition

Transitioning from associate dentist/employee dentist status to becoming an owner or partner in a dental practice occurs at all ages and years of experience in dental practice.

  • Nearly 26% of those who reported they are currently transitioning had less than 5 years of experience.
  • Nearly half of those who reported they are currently transitioning had 5 to 14 years of experience.

Respondent Information

In surveying dentists, DentalPost distinguished between dentists who are owners or partners of dental practices from dentists who are associates or employee dentists. We also distinguished dentists by age, whether they are general dentists or specialists, and the type of organization they work in (private practice, corporate practice, public health, community clinic, hospital, dental school, military clinic, prison clinic, and more).

The survey revealed a broad range of incomes with significant variance between income earned by general dentists who do implant procedures and those who do not. Dentists who said they are satisfied with their annual income reported a total income from clinical practices of over $300,000.

When compared with ADA Health Policy Institute (ADA HPI) numbers, our respondents proportionally overrepresented the age groups 55-64 and 65+ by 16% and underrepresented the age groups <35 and 35-44 by 17%

Our respondents roughly matched the percentages of female and male dentists in the U.S. as reported by the ADA HPI. They also roughly matched the percentages of dentists employed in private and corporate practices, and the racial/ethnic percentages reported by ADA HPI — with the exception of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Age & experience

By age and experience, responding dentists fell into the following groups:

Size of community

By age and experience, responding dentists fell into the following groups:

Gender

Our respondents roughly match the percentages of female and male dentists in the U.S. reported by the ADA Health Policy Institute (ADA HPI).

Female31%34.5%
Male69%65.5%

64% of the responding women dentists own or partner in a practice.

80% of responding male respondents own or partner in a practice.

Race/ethnicity

Comparing survey results from the responding dentists to ADA HPI statistics for race and ethnicity, our respondents roughly match the percentages reported by the ADA HPI except for Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Sole income earner

53% of responding dentists reported they are the sole income earner in their household. This is up 9% from last year’s survey.

General dentist vs. specialist

88.5% of dentists who responded are in general practice. Dentists working in specialties are proportionally underrepresented by one-half in our survey, compared with ADA HPI % of dentists who are specialists.

Practice owner or partner vs. employee dentist

*In the “other” category are dentists who identified themselves as dental resident, hospital dentist, dental educator, dental consultant, public health dentist, community clinic dentist, military clinic dentist, or school system employee.