Aug 4, 2016
I am a pre-dental student. I know it is bad to ask about how much money I will make. But I am really very curious. My sister (who is a lot older than me) is already a dentist and has been practicing for a few years. We are not close so I am not comfortable asking her details about her earnings but it looks like she makes a decent wage (150,000-175,000 general private practice, 5 yrs in AZ). It's just that I thought I would make a lot more than that. Is this value correct? Is it dependent on the region? What is the range that it can fall between? I am finding this discouraging because of the huge loan I plan to take. The other forums haven't discussed real numbers. I want to know what I can expect to earn in private practice and how much will it increase with time. Thanks!


2+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2016
Dental Student
AZ you can expect to make that much like your sister, even for a newly minted dentist. Usually, associate dentists can't increase their income well past the 200k easily unless they open the private practice. Successful private practice owner can expect to make around 300k take home (read successful only).

yea, taking out 500k for dental school while earning that seems like chump change but it is what it is. 150k-175k to the general population is A LOT OF THOUGH.

u can't expect the market pay to match up with how much you spend on tuition. PT/OT spends around 150k on their education too yet makes only 60-70k for the rest of their lives. OD spends near 200k for their education yet makes around the same. Vet spends sometimes more than that and 60k for them is high enough already.


10+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2006
$150k-$175k is way underperforming for private practice after 5 years. Considering all the headaches of managing a business, dealing with regulations, funding your own retirement, paying your debts, and sacrificing all those years, you're barely running even with your average manicurist or way behind your plumber with 5 years experience. Aim for $250k, which is easily done just doing basic bread and butter dentistry, or it's not worth it.
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