Top 7 Dentist Labor Statistics (2022 United States)
Things continue to look up for dentists.
Recent rankings named the profession the second-best career behind software development. It’s also among the highest paid jobs in the US, attracting numerous applicants every year.
But what’s the actual state of the country’s dental industry? You can only answer this by looking at the recent statistics from the most credible sources.
We’ll take you through the latest dentist labor statistics so that you can make an informed career decision. What’s more, our dedicated Dental Contract Lawyer can help you review your dentistry employment contract. So keep reading!
What Are the Latest Dentist Labor Statistics?
While some effects of COVID-19 still linger within the dental industry, the dentistry world has largely recovered from the pandemic. The following dentist labor statistics describe the current situation and trends in this highly sought-after sector:
The US Dental Industry Is Worth $50.42 Billion, And The Value Is Still Rising
The United States dental market has grown significantly, and this expansion is projected to register a magnificent revenue CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) in the next few years.
In 2021, the dental market was estimated to be worth $47.16 billion. This value increased to $50.42 billion in 2022, and experts project that it will continue growing at a CAGR of 7.2%. By 2027, the market size is expected to be approximately $72.09 billion. This is a great prediction for the US dentist labor market compared to the global statistics.
The 2021 global dental industry was estimated to be $36.32 billion, and the market is foreshadowed to hit $63.93 billion over the next decade. During this forecast period, experts anticipate a 7.4% CAGR.
Rising awareness of the benefits of dental practitioners is a leading contributor to this growth in the dentistry market. This vast market comprises consumables and equipment for treating, preventing, and diagnosing oral health problems.
There’s A Huge Demand for Dentists
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the dentistry market would grow significantly as baby boomers age and require complex care like implants. New dentists should look forward to great job prospects if the following data is anything to go by:
- In 2018, there were 155,000 jobs for dentists in the US. But currently (2022), the number stands at 201,927.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a total growth of 7% in the next decade. This is above the average career growth rate of 5%.
- According to a Health Resources and Services Administration study, there was a shortage of 10,802 dentists in 2018.
- The Health Policy Institute found that there are approximately 55.4 full-time dental professionals for every 100,000 US citizens. This translates to about one dentist for every 1,818 residents, which sounds like a pleasant patient base.
California Has the Highest Dentists Employment Level
Among all the states, California stands out in terms of employment level, registering 14,770 dentists. This represents an employment rate of 0.89 per every 1,000 jobs and a 1.16 location quotient. The second state on this list is Texas, with 9,540 employed dentists that represent 0.78 professionals per 1,000 jobs.
Florida is number three, home to 8,080 dental specialists and an employment rate of 0.94 for every one thousand jobs.
Closing the list of the top five states with the most remarkable employment level is New York and Virginia, with 6,370 and 4,880 dentists, respectively.
Restorative Dentistry Market Worth $22.2 Billion by 2027
The future is bright if you specialize in restorative dentistry, as the industry is anticipated to grow from the current $16.5 billion to $22.2 billion in 2027. According to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets™, this growth will unfold at a 6.1% CAGR.
This promising growth can be attributed to:
- An increasing number of tooth repair procedures
- A growing dental tourism market
- The inception of advanced solutions
- Unhealthy food habits
- Lifestyle changes
The report also notes that prosthetic materials account for the largest share of the global market. Dental implantology leads in terms of application, and dental clinics and hospitals account for the greatest percentage of the market by end-user.
Dental Practitioners Are Consolidating
Solo dental practitioners are decreasing by the day. According to the American Dental Association data, two in three dental practices were solo in 1999. More than two decades later, only one in two practitioners is solo.
Apart from the growing popularity of group practices, dentists are increasingly participating in DMSOs (Dental Management Service Organizations) and DSOs (Dental Service Organizations). DMSOs and DSOs contract with dental practitioners to provide non-clinical and management support like accounting, human resources, and supplier negotiations.
About 7.4% of dentists had DSO affiliations in 2017, and the number grew by 40% in 2020, making it 10.4% of practicing dentists.
So despite the digitization of dental services, you shouldn’t worry about gaining new skills beyond your specialization.
There are More Female Dentists Than Male
In the last decade (2010 to 2020), female dentists increased from 24% to 35%. A recent ADA report notes that this increase is expected to last, as evident in the increasing number of female graduates leaving dental schools.
The study also notes that dentists’ average number of weekly hours increased slightly in the previous decade. However, the average female dentist in the US works slightly fewer hours every week than her male counterparts.
Dentists’ Racial and Ethnic Diversity Doesn’t Mirror the General Population
The Above report also views the industry from the ethnicity and race perspective, and the findings are eye-popping.
Asian and White dentists are relatively more predominant in the market than their respective US population percentages. The representation of Black and Hispanic dentists, and those who identify themselves as another ethnicity or race, is relatively less than their fraction of the population.
From the above trends and statistics, there’s a lot to look forward to for those specializing in dentistry. With all these insights, you can make informed career decisions, including choosing the best location to work with or the most lucrative specialization.
Wherever you choose to work, it’s always in your best interests to involve a dental contract lawyer to defend and protect your professional career tirelessly. The experienced team at Chelle Law can do just that, including helping you draft, review, or negotiate an employment contract. Reach out today to discuss your employment progression.
Additional Information for Dentists
How can an associate dentist negotiate a better salary? First, as far as compensation models go for most associate dentists, it’s usually one of three things, either just a straight based salary, I’d say probably more frequently a daily rate, and then last would be a net collections model. Let’s kind of go through the three of those, then we’ll talk about tips on how to negotiate. First, a straight-based salary. The best way to find out whether a salary is kind of, I guess, an average amount in an area is to talk to colleagues. If an associate is looking in a brand-new city, maybe try to look for job listings online and see what the salary range is that they’re listing.
Salaries will vary wildly from location to location. If you’re willing to live in an area that might not be as maybe universally desirable in a rural location or maybe somewhere that has tough weather, you’ll probably make more. Whereas if you’re maybe in a more desirable location where there’s a ton of competition that usually tends to depress salaries, at least of the associate dentist. Just having an idea of what the ongoing rate is in that specific location certainly is helpful. One of the problems is I’d say most people here are just coming out of training or moving to a new location, you’re not bringing any patients with you, so you’re just simply not as valuable. If you were moving within a city and there were no non-compete or non-solicit problems and could bring a huge chunk of patients to a practice, well, then you’re obviously much more valuable.
But I think in most situations, that’s probably not the case. In that situation, usually, there’d be ownership interest transfer. The next one is the daily rate. I mean, really, if you just do the math on, alright, well, if this is the salary, how does that breakdown into a daily rate? Then it’s an easy computation. One thing you need to think about is if there is fractional day, meaning, maybe you’re only there for half a day then is the rate just half? I’ve found some contracts where they penalize the dentist for not being there for the full day, and many times it’s not the dentist’s fault, or maybe the volume is not there or something else.
So, make certain that the daily rate not only is a fair market but also has either hourly or half-day, something that just states how much the associate dentist gets paid if they are not there for the full day. Lastly, net collections and it’s simple. It’s whatever services the dentist provides that the practice collects on. And then the dentist will get a percentage of that. Let’s just take, for instance, a dental associate who brings into the practice $50,000 and they’re only paid on net collections. The normal percentage will be somewhere between 30 to 40% of that amount. Now, they can also do it where they have a base salary on top of net collections. And in that case, usually, once the dentist brings in an amount that covers their salary, then they’ll get a percentage above that.
And that is lower, normally, somewhere between 15 to 25%. The percentages certainly can vary wildly as well. And that’s certainly something that the dental associate can negotiate. Negotiation is always about leverage. And as I said before if you’re just coming out of training, or you are in a city you’ve never lived before and have no established patient base, then you may not have that much leverage. Whereas if you have more experience, you’re in a specialty that’s difficult to recruit to, you have this established patient base, you certainly have much more leverage in negotiating higher daily rate, base salary, net collection, percentage, whatever. I think the most valuable thing you can do is just talk to the people that you know, and the people you train with or some mentors, and just get a feel for how these people are being compensated and how much they’re being compensated.
I find when we’re negotiating, just taking this, the compensation is the only factor that’s stupid. You need to consider, are they getting a signing bonus, or relocation assistance? Is their license and some DEA registration being paid for? What are the restrictive covenants? The non-compete, the non-solicit. Who’s paying for malpractice insurance? There are a bunch of factors that go into whether a contract is worth signing or not, and kind of a holistic, total approach needs to be taken and not just “I’m going to go wherever I’m getting paid more.” I think that’s shortsighted. Hopefully, that was helpful and gave you some tips on how to negotiate an associate dental salary.
How can you get out of a contract as a dental associate? Let’s say you’ve signed an agreement and for whatever reason, you decide, this is not working out, I want to move on. How do you get out of the contract? I guess there are two ways of thinking about this, one is to get out of a contract. It’s easy. Every contract is going to have language about how to terminate the agreement. And in my mind, terminating the agreement is the same as getting out of a contract. I’m going to walk through the kind of the normal way to terminate an agreement. And then I’ll also talk about what happens if you signed an agreement and you don’t want to go through with it.
I think that might be what people are thinking about when they say, can I get out of a contract even if I haven’t started yet, but I’ve signed. What are the issues that can come about from that? Let’s just give a brief description of how to terminate a contract and then I’ll get into the second part last. In any employment agreement, it’s going to state the term of the agreement, meaning, how long it is, and then the termination part. And there are generally four ways to terminate a contract. One, if it’s just a fixed term. Let’s just say it’s a two-year contract and there’s no language that states that automatically renews, at the end of the two years, if neither party has renegotiated anything, then it just ends, and the contract terminates. That’s it.
You could also mutually agree to terminate the agreement. Maybe it’s just not working out, it’s not a good personality fit. Both parties can say, you know what, let’s just move on. The third way would be with cause termination. In every contract, it’s going to state how the employer can get rid of the employee and then what are the reasons. Most of them don’t, but some of them will have a brief section about the things an employee, the dental associate, can terminate the employer for. But in any contract, it’s going to state if either party thinks the other is in breach of contract, let’s just say the dental associate has productivity compensation. They’ve earned the bonuses, but they’re not being paid the bonuses either on time or at all, they will send written notice to the employer stating, you’re in breach of contract. And then usually, there’s a 15 to 30-day window. It’s called a cure period for the breaching party to fix the breach, to cure it. And then if it is fixed, then the party can no longer terminate the contract for cause. That goes both ways.
If maybe the dental associate isn’t taking calls like they said they would, or something like that, the employer can state, you’re in breach of contract, you need to fix this. The third way is termination for cause. The last and the most common way is without cause termination. Every contract will have section that states the contract can be terminated at any time, for any reason, with a certain amount of notice to the other party. Usually, it’s somewhere between 60 to 90 days for most dental associates. And so, let’s just say you found a new job that’s better, you want to move on. You just give them written notice and then work out those, let’s say it’s a 60-day notice, work out those 60 days, the contract ends, and you can move on. Now, a couple of things you need to think about in that scenario.
The restrictive covenants are going to continue after the contract ends, so the non-compete, the non-solicit. You also need to think about who’s going to pay for tail insurance if you have a claims-made policy, are you going to have to repay any bonuses if you left early? And then also, if you’re on hybrid productivity model, are you going to get paid all the bonuses that you’ve earned? Those are things to think about after the contract terminates. Now, the other way would be if you signed a contract and then decided not to go through with it. This one is more of a gray area. Some contracts will explicitly state, if you sign an agreement and then decide not to go through with it, here are the penalties. So, maybe they would have a set fee.
Like, you owe us $20,000 if you sign and don’t start, or you owe the recruitment costs and credentialing fees and any licensure stuff that we’ve already paid out for you. Most of them honestly don’t have that. If you are in a scenario where you’ve signed but don’t want to go forward, I find it’s best just to be completely honest with the employer and just say, look, these are the reasons why I signed the agreement, but things have changed. It could have been maybe a family illness or decided to pursue additional training or whatever. I mean, maybe you got a better job offer, although telling the employer, they’re not going to be too keen on hearing something like that. But if you can just give them a reasonable, I don’t know if “excuse” is the right word, but just kind of, these are the reasons why I don’t want to go through with the contract, most employers are okay with that without the dental associate having to pay anything. Now, the longer amount of notice you give the better. I mean, if you call the employer a day before you’re supposed to start and say, I’m not going to start, unless you have extraordinary excuse, they’re not going to be okay with that. And they’ll likely, or probably come after you for some amount of money.
So, you want to give as much time as possible, as much notice as possible if you’re not going to start, and then a reasonable explanation why you’re not going to start. I would never suggest entering a contract or starting a job that you just absolutely don’t want. It’s a position that you don’t want to be in. Maybe you just had a much better compensation offer from someone else, or maybe there’s a better opportunity, whatever it is, it’s better to deal with consequences before you start a job than to start and then leave a month later. You don’t want to burn bridges if possible, so providing a reasonable explanation and proper notice is the best way of handling that.
But you are potentially open to liability if you’ve signed the agreement. Maybe they’ve paid out some signing bonus or relocation assistance, or as I said before, credentialing fees, licensure, stuff like that. Those are things that they’ve paid for that the dental associate will likely have to pay back at some point. So, that’s kind of how you get out of a dental associate employment contract.