Many dental students are curious about their future earnings potential. According to the 2006 survey of dental practice, the average net income for an independent private practitioner who owned all or part of his (or her) practice was $198,354 general practitioner and $304,024 for a specialist.
Of course, all this is going to depend on many different factors. The area in the country where you practice, the number of days you spend working, the number of years your practice has been open, and your ability to manage your office are all going to be factors that will influence your income.
One of the best resources for finding out the average salary of a dentist where you plan to practice is the website for the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The site contains a great deal of information about salaries for general dentists as well as the dental specialties. Also, the site contains additional information that can be very useful as well. For example, the site lists Delaware as the top paying state for general dentist. The State of Delaware (at the time data was collected) has 290 general dentists working within the state with an annual mean wage of $184,690 or an hourly mean wage of $88.79. The state with the highest number of general dentists working within the state is Michigan with 4210 dentists.
There is also an excellent tool for creating custom tables where you can compare metropolitan areas, individual states, or the entire nation for variables such as average annual income or employment numbers.
In the Bureau of Labour and statistics website the average annual mean wage for general dentist is listed as 147,010 which differs from the 2006 survey of dental practice. However, the BLS number includes dentists who do not own any part of their own practice.