Dental Careers Outlook
Employment opportunities for dentists are expected to grow about as fast as the average job through 2014. However, if the number of dentists graduating from dental schools does not increase, fewer dentists will be available to meet increasing demand for dental care. Thus, the job prospects for dentists are promising.
Although young people primarily need preventive care, since fluoridation of water has succeeded in reducing tooth decay, older generations will need increasing amounts of dental treatment. Today’s elderly have kept more of their natural teeth, meaning that they have more teeth in need of regular dental care. If the number of dentists holds steady, dentists will become busier.
With the swelling demand for dental services, the salary trends for dentists are also promising. In 2005, the median salary for dentists was $129,920. According to the American Dental Association, the real income earned by general dentists is now close to that earned by physicians in general practice.
Dental hygiene and dental assisting are projected to be among the 20 fastest growing occupations through 2014. One factor increasing demand for these workers is the expected increase in demand for dental care related to the aging of the American population and greater retention of natural teeth. Dental hygienists are performing more of the routine services that used to be provided primarily by dentists. In addition, new dentists and those with heavier workloads are more likely to hire an increasing number of dental support professionals in the years ahead.
The opportunities for dental laboratory technicians should be good, although the occupation will experience slower-than-average growth through 2014. Employers are having difficulty filling trainee positions primarily because such positions offer low entry-level salaries. Experienced technicians who have established their professional reputations may have the opportunity to start their own laboratories. In general, the services of dental laboratory technicians will be needed less; today’s patients are likely to need more crowns or partial dentures than complete dentures. This may be partly offset by increased demand for tooth-colored fillings.
Careers in Dentistry:
- Dental Assistants
- Dental Hygienists
- Dental Laboratory Technicians
- Holistic Dentists