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Salary of a Dentist

Discussion in 'Dental' started by pdentist2007, 02.03.07.


  1. Thanks to Crack the NBDE
  1. pdentist2007

    pdentist2007

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    How much does a dentist make after completing DDS.
  2. DDS4tehwin

    DDS4tehwin Mr. Dumbluck

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    Nothing. He/She only makes a salary after employment. :D
  3. ItsGavinC

    ItsGavinC Moderator Emeritus

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    The average general dentist will make between 80-150k. There are outliers on both ends of that, of course. Your question has too many variables to get a really decent answer.
  4. Joe70h8

    Joe70h8 New Member

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    If you scroll down page 1 of this forum, you'll probably see 2-3 topics that deal with salary. If you look on page 2 of this forum, you'll probably see 3-5 additional posts that deal with salary. Most of these posts have many responses, so it might just be possible that your question has been answered in one of the many "salary" topics that are already in existence.
  5. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    Like Gavin said, there are too many variables to give you a solid answer. The ADA says that the average dentist makes around 180k. Dental Economics says 220k. I have posted this post on many other threads and it gives you a general idea to have a vague estimate on what you can do and how much you can make in dentistry. As a dentist, there is a possiblity that you can make over a million a year if you want to and are capable enough to do so. Here is the post:

    The hardest thing in dentistry is getting patients in the chair. Here is an example of how easy it is to make money.

    Honestly, it is not that hard to make money in dentistry. I work for a doctor who was mad all day yesterday because the office "only" produced a little over $5,000. You may make less than $100,000 your first year out of dental school, but that is only because your clinical skills are not up to speed. After that first year you should be fast enough in most things to get your salary to at least $150,000. I posted this example in another thread:

    If you work 240 days a year (48 weeks, 5 days a week. That gives you one month off a year), you should be making well over $100,000 a year as a dentist. Let's pretend that all you do is drill and fill. Just cavaties all day long. The only supplies you buy are for filling cavaties. That is all you do, you refer everything else out. You have one assistant, one front desk person, and one hygienist. That's all the employees you have. You are a small, small office. Your hygienist sees 5 patients a day. Let's say she sees 1 SRP and 4 Prophies and x-rays on 2 of the 4 patients. You see 10 patients a day, all with 1 filling. So you produce each day:

    1 SRP: $150 a quad = $600
    4 Prophies: $100 x 4 = $400
    2 sets of x-rays: $50 x 2 = $100
    8 fillings = $100 x 10 = $1000
    Your office production = $2,100 a day, (240 x $2,100) $504,000 a year

    Your overhead will be very, very small with three employees and two chairs. They say the average dental office is around 65% so we will go with that number, even though with only three employees (let's say you give them no benefits, a lot of practices don't) your overhead would only be about 45-50%. So, after you drill and fill all day long, you take home around 35% of what you produced. Let's say for arguments sake you only take home 25%. So, you take home at the end of the year around $126,000.

    Also, if this was your practice, I would suggest you just fire your hygienist, train your assistant and fd person in both jobs and only have 2 employees and put the $50,000 you would have paid the hygienist back into your pocket and see their patients.

    Now, this estimate is very, very low. If this was you and this was reality, your overhead would not be 75% as this example says. Your practice overhead would probably be 55-60% which means your income would be around $201,000-227,000. You may struggle that first year, you may struggle those first 5 years. But even after your seven years of struggling, you will be making (by this example, which is a low estimate) $15,000+ a month. And remember, by your example you will only be around 35 years old. Thirty-five and making about what a teacher makes every month. Not too bad. Better than 95% of the jobs out there.
  6. cubase94672

    cubase94672

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    I wouldn't rely on either survey. Both are biased in favor of dentistry and most dentists do not report their incomes to dental societies.

    Check out the range of salaries offered by dental employers in the classified ads, and you'll see that they come close to the average/median dental income reported by the Bureau of Labor.

    I don't mean to sound pessimistic but 180k-220k as an average ( which means a good portion earn over 220k ) isn't common.

    I don't know about setting up practices but I am able to follow your logic, though I'm not sure if other major variables are accounted for.

    Were you able to derive all this from your own experience of opening a practice?
  7. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    I would say 180-200 is very very much the average. It is easy to make money in dentistry. If you collect $2000 a day you take home $168,000. $2000 a day is NOTHING. It is a root canal, crown, and 2 fillings.

    Also, my estimation is a very simple estimation. You are right, it doesn't take into other factors. One would be what would happen if you didn't get a patient in the door for a couple of weeks. I typed it up mainly to show how easy it is to make money in dentistry.
  8. dentalman

    dentalman Senior Member

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    Just remember that these averages are NOT for the first few years starting out (in a vast majority of cases).
  9. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

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    Can you provide a link to this article?
  10. dentalman

    dentalman Senior Member

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    You most likely won't be doing a crown and a root canal every day. (The average dentist does not.)
  11. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    You are missing the point. Some days you will do 5 of these. And other days you will do 15 fillings. All you have to do is AVERGAGE $2000 a day to make the average. If you have a full hygiene schedule there is no excuse for not getting $1000 from your hygienist. So you only have to do $1000 a day to get the average. BUT if you have a full hygiene schedule, there is no excuse for not collecting $5000 a day. You have enough patients, and the general publics oral health is not that good.

    It is not hard to make money in dentistry. That is the point.
  12. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    Someone showed me the link a couple of days ago (Hermey the Elf). I can't find it so either pm him or go to their webpage and look around. Sorry. If I do run across it, I will post it though.
  13. HermeytheElf

    HermeytheElf Guest

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    The link was in the thread about overhead, but here it is again. I think you need to register to view the past issues of the magazine, but it's free. DE consistently has very good articles about managing the business aspect of your practice, so it's definitely worth the time it takes to register.

    You're looking for the 2006 Practice Survey, December 2006.

    http://de.pennnet.com/
  14. Dental916

    Dental916 Senior Member

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    One of my classmate's brother got his practice after 1 year out of dental school. It's been 5 years out of dental school and he takes home 300g's. He said its very doable(real word?). His practice is in New Jersey. If you have people skills and a drive...250-300 is within reach. Look around your class...the strange birds that dont seem to have people skills/lacking a little something will tend to be the lower ones...if you have the skills...you will be successful.
  15. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing

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    I absolutely agree with JohnTara. Not only does his simple explanation take an AVERAGE it takes a very very conservative amount of procedures in hand. If you get into the right area and are good you can with some elbow grease make 10K a day.

    If you lack judgement or can't seem to hit your stride you will make 1K a day. If this is the case, hire a dental specialist business consultant and turn it around. The investment into him will be worth it. Or call your buddy from school who has the 6000 sq ft house and ask him for advice.
  16. S Files

    S Files Member

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    location location location location location. do some research and go to slightly underserved areas, don't go to saturated areas (big cities). if you want the city life, then live 30 miles or so out, and set up office further out. all these "averages" - trust me, the one steady factor is location guys are making the big bucks. i believe DrJeff has a post out there w/ a great breakdown of how and whys


  17. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

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    What about having an office in a minority community, is it a good location for business?
  18. vize

    vize Member

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    Cold Front, yes. My dad has an office in a minority community and he doubles the average income. He's also been there for 25+ years, so maybe that matters. Johntara is right, everyone else is wrong. :D
  19. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    Everyone listen to what this person says, truer words have never been spoken. The sooner everyone (especially my wife) realizes this, the happier we will all be. :p

    I like the way you think.....:D
  20. anamod

    anamod Senior Member

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    I will tell you that I graduated in 2006, and I'm on track to make more than 130,000 my first year. I work 4.5 days a week.
  21. johntara04

    johntara04 Member

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    Are you associating, partnering, going solo? What area of the country are you in? Thanks for the info.
  22. anamod

    anamod Senior Member

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    I'm an associate at 2 practices in the upper midwest. Between the 2 practices I work 4.5 days a week. The both are solo practice offices.
  23. Cold Front

    Cold Front Supreme Member

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    I am starting to realize that there is a great business potential in minority communities. Somehow, I always thought it would be the opposite.

    Anyone care to comment on this? :)
  24. Reupena

    Reupena

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    What is the pay for Dentist as of 2012 who have just completed their DDS?
  25. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member

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    See all of the above posts.
    The numbers haven't really changed in the last 5 years cause first the economy went down and now it's starting to get better, so the average graduating dentist who finds a job is still making about the same as five years ago and the average dentist is still making about what they made five years ago...outliers, bottom of the barrel, averages, collection %, production, # of fillings times days worked divided by some number, etc.
  26. Firm

    Firm Member

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    Are you an associate or owner? How many patients do you have? Did you buy a practice or start up from scratch? Most of the time you don't start working and get a salary in dentistry like in the real world.
  27. Dgeorg6

    Dgeorg6

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    Old thread
  28. charlestweed

    charlestweed

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    The person, who revived this old thread, simply wanted to know if there is a change in the associate salary in the last 5 years. It is not a good sign, if the associate dentist's income remains the same in the last 5 years. To account for inflation and rising cost of living, the new grad dentists in 2012 need to make 5-10% more than what the new grad made in 2007. The average student loan debt in 2007 was also a lot lower than it is right now. Food, rent, gas price, health insurance premiums etc have also increased significantly in the last 5 years. I have to spend $100 more every month (compared to 5 years ago) to fill up my car's gas tank. Before the new healthcare law was passed in 2010, I only paid $650/month for my family's health insurance. Now, the monthly healthcare premium is at $ 1080/month…and this premium keeps on rising every 3 months:eek:. For an old fart like me, there is no problem with such rising cost of living. It is definitely a huge problem for the new grad dentists who owe $300-400k in student loans.
    Last edited: 04.13.12
  29. Firm

    Firm Member

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    It hasn't changed? That's good! I thought it actually went down from 2007.
  30. ineed2stpsmurfn

    ineed2stpsmurfn

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    wow can't believe that's the response to finding out after 5 years have passed entering salaries are EXACTLY the same.. dentistry doesn't seem so great considering. I wonder if it will turn out like law schools since there is no residency required after graduation...
  31. CaliDDS1986

    CaliDDS1986

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    Let's not forget salaries of most jobs in the past 5 years haven't increase. Whether your a gp, specialist, or lawyer it is a recession. Unless you have a state job, salaries of the private sector are hurting.
  32. pk62281

    pk62281

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    Things are bouncing back. Some people may disagree, but the economy is getting healthier. It'll take a few more years, but things will get better for dentists. The student loan burden can be ridiculous though.
  33. Firm

    Firm Member

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    Most jobs have not increased in income. I think only somebody in school would be surprised about how hard this recession was. I do think things are getting better. Much better than last year and last quarter was my best in 5 years.
  34. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member

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    http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=305295

    I can't find more recent data.

    The economy is getting better and we are seeing in general that pay is increasing. All recent economic articles say people see increasing revenues the last year or so.

    As for the people who see this slow down in the last five years that has since started to come around as some horrible blight, I'd remind you that dentists do extremely well overall. Most earn within the top 5% of people in the USA. even with our increased debt, if you can't make it somehow on $150,000 to $200,000 a year then you really need to re-evaluate your lifestyle.

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