The Ultimate Orthodontists’ Salary Guide: How Much Do They Really Earn?


If you are considering becoming an orthodontist, one of the most important things to consider is the salary. While it may not be the only factor to consider, knowing how much orthodontists earn can help you make informed decisions about your career path. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect an orthodontist’s salary and provide a comprehensive guide on what you can expect to earn.

Factors Affecting Orthodontist Salary:

There are several factors that can affect an orthodontist’s salary, including their level of education, experience, location, and practice size. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

1. Education:

The level of education required to become an orthodontist is quite high. Orthodontists must have a bachelor’s degree in dentistry and complete a residency program in orthodontics, which can take up to 2-3 years. The cost of these programs can vary depending on the institution and location.

1. Experience:

The more experience an orthodontist has, the higher their salary is likely to be. This includes not only clinical experience, but also research experience, teaching experience, and leadership roles. Orthodontists who have been in practice for 5-10 years or more can earn significantly more than those who are just starting out.

1. Location:

The location of an orthodontist’s practice can also impact their salary. Orthodontists who practice in urban areas or in high demand locations may be able to command higher salaries, while those who practice in rural areas or low-demand areas may earn less.

1. Practice Size:

The size of an orthodontist’s practice can also affect their salary. Orthodontists who work in large practices with multiple locations and a large patient base may be able to earn more than those who work in small, private practices.

Average Salary for Orthodontists:

According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average salary for orthodontists in 2019 was $355,474. However, this is just an average, and actual salaries can vary widely depending on the factors discussed above.

Case Study:

Let’s take a look at a real-life example of how these factors can impact an orthodontist’s salary. Suppose we have two orthodontists who are both in private practice in the same location. The first orthodontist has been in practice for 10 years, has a large patient base and works in a busy urban area. They earn $500,000 per year.

The second orthodontist, on the other hand, is just starting out and practices in a small rural town. They have no research or teaching experience, and their practice has only been open for 2 years. They earn $300,000 per year.


While it may be difficult to predict an exact salary as an orthodontist, this guide should give you a good idea of what to expect. By considering factors such as education, experience, location, and practice size, you can make informed decisions about your career path and have a better understanding of the potential income.

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