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Dentistry Job Outlook, Dental Medicine, Dentists


Dentists Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Employment of dentists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Many members of the baby-boom generation will need complicated dental work. In addition, because each generation is more likely to keep their teeth than past generations, more dental care will be needed in the years to come. Dentists will continue to see an increase in public demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health.

Dentists are likely to hire more hygienists and dental assistants to handle routine services. Productivity increases from new technology should allow dentists to reduce the time needed to see each patient. These factors allow the dentist to see more patients when their practices expand.

Dentists will continue to provide care and instruction aimed at promoting good oral hygiene, rather than just providing treatments such as fillings.

Whether patients seek care is largely dependent on their insurance coverage. The number of individuals who have access to health insurance will increase as federal health insurance reform legislation is enacted. People with new or expanded dental insurance coverage will be more likely to visit a dentist than in the past.

Job Prospects

Employment of dentists is not expected to keep pace with the increased demand for dental services. There are still areas of the country where patients need dental care, but have little access to it. Cosmetic dental services, such as teeth-whitening treatments, will become increasingly popular. This trend is expected to continue as new technologies allow for less invasive, faster procedures.

In addition, many dentists are expected to retire in the next decade and replacement workers will be needed to fill those positions.

Employment projections data for dentists, 2010-20

Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2012 Change, 2012-22
Percent Numeric
Dentists 29-1020 146,800 170,200 16 23,300
Dentists, general 29-1021 125,800 146,400 16 20,600
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons 29-1022 6,700 7,800 16 1,100
Orthodontists 29-1023 7,500 8,700 16 1,200
Prosthodontists 29-1024 400 500 15 100
Dentists, all other specialists 29-1029 6,400 6,800 6 400
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Last Modification: 01-26-2014