The 4 Highest Paying Dental Jobs for 2020

Published On: Jan 2, 2020


Dentistry is a highly respected and high-paying career path – and one in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the overall employment of dentists to grow 7% from 2018-2028, faster than average, and demand for them will grow as the population ages and as research continues to link overall health to oral health. Dentists and Orthodontists are frequently named two of the best jobs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of the 100 Best Jobs. But while 8 out of 10 dentists pursue general dentistry, the profession offers many other specialties to pursue. There are currently 10 specialty areas recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA): Dental Anesthesiology, Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.


If annual salary is a factor in your decision, here’s a list of the top 4 highest-paying dental specialties:


  1. PROSTHODONTIST: $262,528 average annual salary (according to ZipRecruiter)

Prosthodontists is a specialty that focuses on missing teeth and restoration, as well as jaw problems. They construct prostheses to replace missing teeth and any other oral structures to correct deformities in the mouth and jaws, and treat people who have trouble with their bite or just don’t like the look of their teeth. They can restore natural functions such as chewing and speaking for cancer patients who have trouble after treatment. Becoming a Prosthodontist requires an additional three years of school after acquiring a dental degree, similar to what doctors must do to achieve a specialization. Prosthodontists rank #9 in the 100 Best Jobs in the country, #7 in Best Health Care Jobs and the professional scored a perfect 10 in job growth by U.S. News & World Report.


  1. ORTHODONTIST: $284,763 average annual salary (according to ZipRecruiter)

It’s common for people to use dentist and orthodontist interchangeably, but they’re very different specialties. Dentists focus on the whole mouth: teeth, gums, jaw, and nerves. Orthodontists are dentists too but focus on the straightening of teeth and treatment of bite disorders: overbites, underbites, open bites, cross-bites, and other misalignments of teeth and jaws. They help achieve and maintain healthy function of patients’ teeth and jaws, commonly using braces, and, in a general sense, help people be happier with their smiles. To practice as an Orthodontist, most dental schools require an additional 2-3 of training after acquiring a general dental degree. Orthodontists rank #3 in the Best Health Care Jobs and #5 in the 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News & World Report and demand for Orthodontist jobs is expected to grow by more than 8% over the next few years.

A doctor hand with healthy tooth and patient giving money.

  1. ENDODONTIST: $287,937 average annual salary (according to ZipRecruiter)

Endodontists are at the forefront of preventative dental care, and commonly refer to themselves as Specialists in Saving Teeth. Their focus is on the treatment of the interior of teeth, i.e. the dental pulp, including the nerves and blood supply, of injured or infected teeth. Using cutting-edge technologies and expert pain management skills, they are the specialists general dentists refer patients to for root canals. It usually takes an additional 2-3 years of additional education and training after completing a 4-year dental degree to become an endodontist, but most endodontists will tell you all that student debt is worth it, as job satisfaction and security is high, with the job market expected to grow 17% through 2026, much faster than the national average.


  1. ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON: $307,999 (according to ZipRecruiter)

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgeries on the face, mouth, and jaw. These can be relatively simple procedures such as pulling wisdom teeth, or highly-complex treatments for head, neck, and oral cancer, fixing cleft lips, or even cosmetic surgeries such as face lifts. For these reasons, they are the highest-paid dental specialty, and rank as the #3 best-paying job in America. This is in part because their job is constantly evolving, and the technology used to treat and operate on the face, mouth, and jaw changing regularly. That also makes it an exciting choice, as you’d be a part of the most innovating space in dentistry. It’s not an easy field to break into though, as it requires an additional 4-6 years of highly-competitive residency training after already completing 4 years of dental school. After that, there’s certification and recertification and continuing education requirements due to the ever-changing nature of the profession.


Find your dream dental job on today. Dentistry will grow faster than average and demand will grow as the population ages and as research continues to link overall health to oral health.