How Much Do Orthodontists Earn Annually?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental irregularities, primarily of the teeth and jaws. They design, apply, and manage orthodontic appliances to guide teeth and jaws into their proper positions.

Orthodontists undergo rigorous training to meet the specialized educational and licensing requirements needed to practice in their field. This training comes at a cost, but a career in orthodontics can be well worth it. One of the most significant driving factors in many career decisions is compensation. So, the question is, how much do orthodontists earn annually? In this article, we will provide an in-depth analysis of the topic.

How are Orthodontists Paid?

Orthodontists’ income is generally derived from fees charged for services provided to their patients. The income varies depending on the location and type of practice. Orthodontists can work in a private practice, academic institution, or dental group. Most orthodontists work full-time, while others work part-time or flexible schedules.

Private Practice

Orthodontists in private practice earn the most money because they have direct control over their billing and fees charged. The practice overhead and staff salaries are taken from the earnings, but the rest is theirs. The earnings potential for orthodontists in private practice is unlimited, as their income is directly proportional to the number of patients seeking their services.

Academic Institution

Orthodontists who work at academic institutions may earn less than those in private practice. These institutions can be public or private, and their salary structure varies. Academic institutions offer social security and a pension plan to their employees, which is not available for those working in private practice. The salaries offered by academic institutions seldom exceed those earned by orthodontists in private practice.

Dental Group

Orthodontists who work in a dental group earn less than their counterparts in private practice but generally earn more than those in academic institutions. In a dental group, the salary is based on the production level of the orthodontist. This means that the more patients an orthodontist sees, the more they earn. The earning potential of orthodontists in a dental group is limited to the availability of patients seeking orthodontic services.

Factors that Influence an Orthodontist’s Income

Many factors can influence an orthodontist’s income. Some of the most common factors include:


The location of the practice is one of the most significant determining factors of an orthodontist’s income. Orthodontists practicing in urban or suburban areas typically earn more than those practicing in rural areas. This is due to higher patient demand in these areas.

Years of Experience

The number of years an orthodontist has been practicing also plays a role in determining their income. Orthodontists who have been practicing for many years typically earn more than those new to the profession. This is because experienced orthodontists have built up a loyal patient base and an excellent reputation in their community.

Type of Practice

Orthodontists in private practice earn the most money, followed by those in a dental group, and then those working at academic institutions. The earning potential of orthodontists in each of these practice areas varies.

Credentials and Certifications

Orthodontists who have specialized skills and additional certification can usually earn a higher income. Certified orthodontists are more likely to earn more than those without certification. The specialized skills and certification usually require more training, which is reflected in their higher income.

What is the Average Income of an Orthodontist?

According to the latest data, the average annual income for an orthodontist is $228,780. The median income for orthodontists is $208,000, with the lowest ten percent earning less than $112,580 and the highest ten percent earning more than $364,000 annually.

Comparison with Other Dental Specialists

Orthodontists typically earn more than other dental specialists such as general dentists or dental hygienists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general dentists earn an average of $180,830 annually, dental hygienists earn an average of $77,090, and dental assistants earn an average of $40,080 annually.

What Affects an Orthodontist’s Income?

Orthodontists can also influence their income by generating more revenue through various methods. Some of the ways include:

Maximizing Orthodontic Appliances Sales

Orthodontists can increase their revenue by selling orthodontic appliances like Braces and Invisalign directly to their patients. They can also make commissions by selling them to other dentists who do not have orthodontic departments. Orthodontic appliances sales can be a significant source of income for orthodontists.

Managing Operating Expenses

Orthodontists can increase their income by controlling their overhead costs. They can manage their expenses by staying up-to-date with modern technology and maintaining on-going training for themselves and their staff. By making more efficient use of their equipment and supplies, they reduce their overhead costs and have more funds available to pay themselves and their employees.

Expanding Services to More Patients

Orthodontists can expand their services to more patients by increasing their visibility with local marketing efforts. They can also accept various insurance plans, seeing more patients and providing more orthodontic services to help their practice grow.


Orthodontics is a specialized field that requires extensive training to master. After graduating from their training programs, orthodontists can expect to make a good living. The earnings will largely depend on the orthodontist’s type of practice, location, experience, and professional credentials. However, the average annual income of an orthodontist is $228,780, with exceptional orthodontists earning over $364,000 annually.

Common Questions

  • What is the average income of an orthodontist?
    • The average annual income of an orthodontist is $228,780.
  • Do orthodontists earn more than other dental specialists?
    • Yes, orthodontists earn more than other dental specialists like general dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants.
  • How much does an orthodontist in private practice earn?
    • The salary of an orthodontist in private practice varies, but they generally earn the most money in comparison to those working in a dental group or academic institution.
  • What factors influence an orthodontist’s income?
    • Several factors can influence an orthodontist’s income, such as location, years of experience, type of practice, and credentials or certifications.
  • Can orthodontic appliance sales increase an orthodontist’s income?
    • Yes, orthodontists can earn a commission by selling orthodontic appliances or expand their service offerings to more patients by increasing visibility with marketing efforts.


  • “Orthodontists.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 Apr. 2021,
  • “Orthodontist Salary: Latest Wage and Compensation Trends in Your Area.”,
  • “How to Increase Revenue in Your Orthodontic Practice.” Henry Schein Orthodontics,

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