An orthodontist is a medical professional who works in a special branch of dentistry called orthodontics. This specialty branch deals with the structural problems of your jaw and teeth. When looking at the name of the specialty it has a Greek origin which breaks down into ortho which means straight and odons means teeth. When you put the two words together it simply means improving your teeth alignment and your other oral structures. They are also known as Dentofacial, Invisible Braces Orthodontist, Pediatric Orthodontist, or Orthopedics Dentist.
As a result of this being a special branch of dentistry it is only natural to assume that it will require more education which in turn would mean a larger salary. Unfortunately this is not always the case because the salary of an orthodontist is governed by three factors. These three factors are geographical location, work experience and skills, and type of employment. As with any profession where you go and get paid to be there and work it is a business. Basically it is up to you to make a go of this “business” and if you do you will have money coming in. To make a go of this business you need to have clients, or patients, and the more you have the more money you will be bringing in.
In order to make good money as an orthodontist in 2020 there are two other basic essentials that you will need which are great work experience and skills. An orthodontist also needs to establish their practice in a good geographical location like Texas or New Jersey where you can earn some of the highest salaries because of the high standard of living and good paying jobs. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the rural areas where the salary is not so high and then you have all the geographical areas in between these two ends. Before deciding to set up your practice do your research to see where the best paid salaries would be before you graduate. If a high paying salary is not all that important but helping people is important then you would choose a geographical area near the end of the spectrum of rural living. You also need to remember that when talking about geographical location you are not only talking big city or rural areas but also the state, city, and even the country where you are a practicing orthodontist.
Another important factor in helping to establish an orthodontist’s salary in 2020 is their level of education. If you have a higher educational level along with enough training you can make a larger salary in the beginning. One important thing to note is that when you first start out as an orthodontist you will not be making a high salary but as time goes on, you become more established, and you get more patients the salary will also go up.
As with any business there are also expenses that you must take into consideration. If you decided to start your own private practice there will be more expenses such as rent for the building, dental equipment, advertising, malpractice insurance, employee pay, etc that will deducted from what you earn each month. If you decide to join a group practice or go into partnership with some other orthodontist or even a dentist the expenses will be shared but so will also the profit. This is another decision that you will have to make before graduating. It seems as if there are a lot of decisions that must be made before graduating but it is important to at least have a plan in mind because if not, you will graduate with a diploma in hand but no office in which to hang it or patients to use our new found training on.
Here is an example of years of work experience equals average yearly salary in 2020:
- $79,327-$167.048 with less than 1 years experience
- $96.624-$169.308 with 1-4 years experience
- $97,355-$180.000 with 5-9 years of experience
- $102,564-$197,739 with 10-19 years of experience
- $142,245-$260.500 with 20 or more years of experience
Yes it does take many, many years of experience to be making the “big bucks” but the starting salary is not too bad. If you work in a group practice or in partnership with another dentist or orthodontist there could be profit sharing to add to the salary.
You also need to look into the type of employer as mentioned. Some of the different employers with an average yearly orthodontist salary in 2020 can include:
- $24,000-$100,000 working in a hospital
- $92,606-$196,836 working for a company
- $100,065-201,11 self-employed
- $99.604-$170.051 working in a private practice/firm
According to The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics by the year 2022 the field of orthodontics is expected to grow by 16% but if the economy takes a downslide that percentage rate could drop. When money is tight the demand for orthodontics work falls dramatically because people use the money for more basic things such as rent and food.
Orthodontist salaries in 2020 by state
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistic orthodontist’s salaries will vary significantly in different states with no two states offering the same average yearly salary.
The average yearly salaries are:
- $239,510 in Texas
- $222,420 in New Jersey
- $200.850 in Massachusetts
- $164,960 in California
- $162,850 in Florida
- $123,020 in Indiana
- $106,150 in Illinois
When thinking of salary people will usually think of “money” but do not take into consideration that when working in partnership or group practice there are also benefits such as paid vacations, paid sick days, vision and dental care, 401K, pension, social security, profit sharing, health and life insurance that may also include the family, and malpractice insurance. When looking at all these they can add a significant amount to the average yearly salary. Unfortunately if you are in private practice these benefits would not result in adding money to the average yearly salary but instead decreasing your average yearly salary. The reason that it would decrease your salary is that you would be paying all of these for your employees each month.
Working as an orthodontist outside the United States
The average yearly salaries up to this point have referred to employment in the United States but there are orthodontist would work in other countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK.
- UK—in the UK the average annual salary in 2020 would be 82,852 which would be approximately $139,044. As you can see the difference between working in the UK and the United states would be approximately $56,192. Although this is the average salary in the UK, what the average orthodontist salary would be is based on what age they are which means as they grow older their salary would increase. If they are in their 20’s’ the salary would be 62,139 9 ($104,624 U.S.), in their 30’s the salary would be 81,195 ($136,709 U.S.), and in their 40’s and 50’s the salary would be 96,109 (161,820 U.S.)
- Canada—in Canada the average yearly salary in 2020 would be between CAD$98,891-CAD$599,522 and in the United States that would be approximately $90,616-549,360. In the United States the starting salary is on average what it would be in Canada but the other end of the spectrum that salary is much higher in Canada.
- Australia—in Australia the average annual salary in 2020 is AU$76,943-AU$250,931 and in the United States that would be approximately $71,622-$233,578. In Australia the average annual salary is higher.
If you are considering moving to either Canada or Australia for a better salary you would first need to check to see if your education, licenses, and credentials would be sufficient to practice being an orthodontist first. You should also check out the living conditions and the cost of living.
One thing to remember is that wherever you are a practicing orthodontist whether it is in the United States, Canada, the UK, or Australia, any medical field, especially being an orthodontist, is famous for providing the best salaries. It is also a known fact that there are some orthodontists who earn a higher salary than even some physicians or surgeons.
If you have decided that the field you are interested in having a career is being an orthodontist in 2020 do your homework first. Know that there is a lot of schooling that you have to complete before earning your license and certification as an orthodontist and if you are going into private practice it may take a year or two before you can even begin to see any type of profit due to expenses getting your practice off the ground along with paying back your student loans. Yes the salaries looks very enticing but know when you first graduate with the medical title of orthodontist you are not going to start at the top of the salary ladder but closer to the bottom.