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Income and Gross Billings

What is a dentist's average net income?

The average net income for an independent private practitioner who owned all or part of his or her practice in 2009 was $192,680 for a general practitioner and $305,820 for a specialist. 

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code: SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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What are a dentist’s average annual gross billings?

The average gross billings per owner dentist in 2009 was $727,630 for a general practitioner and $1,004,820 for a specialist.

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code: SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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Does the ADA have information on income by state and city?

No. The Survey of Dental Practice only provides information on a national level and by the nine U.S. Census regions.

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code: SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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What is the average salary for dental school faculty?

The ADA does not collect or publish this information. Contact the American Dental Education Association at 202-289-7201 or www.adea.org and ask about their Faculty Salary Survey.

For information on number and characteristics of faculty, see the 2007-08 Survey of Dental Education – Volume 3: Faculty and Staff report (Item code: SDE3-2007/SDE3-2007D). Available as a free download.

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Does the ADA have information on gross billings by state and city?

No. The Survey of Dental Practice only provides information on a national level and by the nine U.S. Census regions.

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code: SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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Does the ADA have income information for dentists during their first year?

No. Due to sampling at the national level, the number of dental school graduates each year is generally too small to report reliable numbers. The Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry report does have income averages for dentists who graduated in the last ten years.

Related item: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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What is the average hourly salary of a full-time hygienist and a full-time chairside dental assistant?

Nationally, dentists reported paying full-time dental hygienists $34.70 per hour in 2009. Full-time chairside dental assistants were reported to earn $18.00 an hour in 2009.

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Employment of Dental Practice Personnel. Item code: SDPE-2010/SDPE-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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Does the ADA have information on dental hygienist and/or dental assistant salaries by state?

Yes, there are two reports in the Dental Health Policy Analysis Series that contain this information: the 2004 Workforce Needs Assessment Survey: Dental Hygienists and the 2005 Workforce Needs Assessment Survey: Chairside Assistants.

Sources: 2004 Workforce Needs Assessment Survey: Dental Hygienists and 2005 Workforce Needs Assessment Survey: Chairside Assistants. Item codes: WNASH-2004/WNASH-2004D and WNASA-2005/WNASA-2005D

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Education

How many dental schools are there in the U.S. and Canada?

Currently, there are 65 accredited dental schools in the U.S. and ten in Canada. The U.S. dental schools most recently granted accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation are as follows:

  • A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Kirksville, MO was approved for initial accreditation in August 2013 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2013.
  • University of New England in Portland, ME was approved for initial accreditation in August 2012 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2013.
  • University of Utah in Salt Lake City was approved for initial accreditation in August 2012 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2013.
  • Roseman University of Health Sciences in South Jordan, UT was approved for initial accreditation in August 2011 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2011.
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) in Bradenton, FL was approved for initial accreditation in February 2011 and enrolled its first class in Summer 2012.
  • Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, NC was approved for initial accreditation in February 2011 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2011.
  • Midwestern University-Illinois in Downers Grove, IL was approved for initial accreditation in August 2010 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2011.
  • Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA was approved for initial accreditation in January 2009 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2009.
  • Midwestern University-Arizona in Glendale, AZ was approved for initial accreditation in February 2008 and enrolled its first class in Fall 2008.

Related Item: Visit the CODA Search DDS/DMD Programs page.

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How many students are enrolled in/graduate from dental schools?

During the 2012-13 academic year, there were 21,853 students enrolled in predoctoral education programs. The class of 2012 had 5,199 predoctoral graduates.

Source: 2011-12 and 2012-13 Survey of Dental Education – Report 1: Academic Programs, Enrollment, and Graduates. Available as a free download.

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How many/what percentage of dental students/graduates are female?

In 2012-13, 10,240 predoctoral dental students were female (46.9%), and 46.1% (2,398) of graduates of the class of 2012 were female.

Source: 2011-12 and 2012-13 Survey of Dental Education – Report 1: Academic Programs, Enrollment, and Graduates. Available as a free download.

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Is dental school enrollment on the increase or decrease?

Total predoctoral enrollment was at its highest level during the late 1970s/early 1980s, with peak enrollment of 22,842 in the 1980-81 academic year. With 21,853 students in 2012-13, recent trends show total enrollment again approaching this historical high. In the last ten years, first-year predoctoral enrollment has risen an average of 2.0% annually.

Source: 2011-12 and 2012-13 Survey of Dental Education – Report 1: Academic Programs, Enrollment, and Graduates. Available as a free download.

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Where can I find a list that ranks dental schools?

The ADA does not rank dental schools. The Survey of Dental Education series has reports that cover applications, enrollment, program information, tuition, curriculum, and finances, which individuals may use to make their own comparisons between schools.

Related items: Survey of Dental Education series. Available as a free download.

  • Report 1: Academic Programs, Enrollment, and Graduates    
  • Report 2: Tuition, Admission, and Attrition
  • Report 3: Finances
  • Report 4: Curriculum (Published in alternate years.)

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Workforce

How many dentists are there in the US?

As of 2009, there were 186,084 professionally active dentists (dentists using their dental degree in some fashion), and 170,694 active private practitioners in the U.S. (Note that the latter number is included in the former.)

Source: 2009 Distribution of Dentists in the U.S. by Region and State. Item code: DOD-2009/DOD-2009D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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How many dentists are female?

Among 186,084 professionally active dentists in 2009, 22.2% (41,309) were female.

Source: 2009 Distribution of Dentists in the U.S. by Region and State. Item code: DOD-2009/DOD-2009D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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What percentage of dentists are specialists?

In 2009, over one in five professionally active dentists (21.0%) reported that their practice, research, or administration area was an ADA-recognized specialty.

Source: 2009 Distribution of Dentists in the U.S. by Region and State. Item code: DOD-2009/DOD-2009D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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Does the ADA have any projections for the number of dentists in the U.S.?

Yes, the ADA's Dental Workforce Model report is used to project the number of dentists up to 2030.

Source: 2011 American Dental Association Dental Workforce Model: 2009 to 2030.
Item code: DWM-2011/DWM-2011D.

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How many dentists are usually working in a dental practice?

In 2009, solo dentists (those who worked in a practice with no other dentists) comprised 58.9% of all private practitioners; 22.8% worked with one other dentist, and 18.3% with two or more dentists.

Source: 2010 Survey of Dental Practice – Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry. Item code: SDPI-2010/SDPI-2010D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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Patients

Could you give me the ADA-recommended ideal dentist to patient ratio?

No. It is the ADA’s view is that a simple dentist to patient ratio cannot take into account the differing economic environments from region to region, state to state, urban to rural, so the ADA does not give any kind of recommended dentist to patient ratio.

Source: 2009 Distribution of Dentists in the U.S. by Region and State. Item code: DOD-2009/DOD-2009D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

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How often do people visit a dentist?

Most adults reported they had seen a dentist within the past year. A total of 48.7% said they last saw a dentist less than six months ago, while an additional 18.9% saw a dentist between six months ago and a year.

Source: 2007 Public Opinion Survey: Oral Health of the US Population. Item code: POS-2007/POS-2007D.

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Why do people not visit their dentists?

The reason for not going to the dentist more often that was cited by the largest percentage of respondents was that it costs too much (34%). More than half of consumers (51%) who have not been to the dentist in the past five years reported that high costs are an important factor. About 26% of consumers had a previous bad experience with a dentist and one-quarter do not feel that it is necessary to go to the dentist until a problem occurs.

Source: 2003 Public Opinion Survey: Oral Health of the US Population. Item code: POS-2003/POS-2003D.

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Fees for Dental Procedures

How much do particular dental procedures cost?

The ADA cannot quote fees for dental procedures. Survey data from a nationwide random sample of dentists who were asked to record the fee most often charged for different dental procedures are collected and published in the ADA's Survey of Dental Fees report. The report provides information on what dentists who completed the survey typically charge, but these are not "recommended" fees from the ADA, or an ADA standard for fees.

DISCLAIMER: The published survey data should not be interpreted as constituting a fee schedule in any way, and should not be used for that purpose. The ADA is forbidden by federal law to set or recommend fees. Dentists establish their own fees based on their individual practice and market considerations.

Related item: 2011 Survey of Dental Fees. Item code: SDF-2011/SDF-2011D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

Because the survey is conducted in odd-number years, please note that this report is published every other year; it is not updated annually.  

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Where can I get the ADA’s fee schedule?

The ADA does not publish a fee schedule, as federal law forbids the ADA from setting fees for dentists. The ADA does conduct a Survey of Dental Fees, from which a report is published. The ADA Survey of Dental Fees report can be purchased by anyone, including dentists, patients, and insurance companies.

Related item: 2011 Survey of Dental Fees. Item code: SDF-2011/SDF-2011D. Available as a free download to ADA members.

Because the survey is conducted in odd-number years, please note that this report is published every other year; it is not updated annually.

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I called my insurance company to dispute what they consider to be "reasonable and customary/usual and customary" charges for my zip code. They said that if we have an issue, to take it to the ADA, because that's who provides them with the "usual and customary fees" for zip codes.

The insurance company is misinforming you. If an insurance company has fee information by zip code, it did not come from the ADA. The ADA does conduct a Survey of Dental Fees, from which a report is published. However, federal law forbids the ADA from setting fees for dentists. The ADA Survey of Dental Fees report can be purchased by anyone, including dentists, patients, and insurance companies. The report does not have average fees for zip codes, cities, or states. 

Related item: 2011 Survey of Dental Fees. Item code: SDF-2011/SDF-2011D. Available as a free download to ADA members

Because the survey is conducted in odd-number years, please note that this report is published every other year; it is not updated annually.

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