Top 10 Highest Paying Countries for Dentists
Dentistry is one of the highest-paying jobs in the healthcare industry, with experienced dentists earning more due to higher fees and private practice. Specialists have higher earning power due to their specialization. This article explores the top 20 highest paying countries for dentists.
If you’re considering an international career as a dentist, these 10 countries are the best options. Some countries offer higher wages for professional dental services than others, but the variations in salaries are more evident in the healthcare industry. The list includes countries with the best prospects and financial rewards for dental expertise.

Who is a dentist?

A dentist is a medical practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of oral health issues. Dental professionals may treat patients with dental fillings, crowns, and bridges, which lowers their chance of developing major health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. Maintaining optimal oral health requires routine dental appointments.

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Regular visits to a dentist are essential for maintaining good oral health.

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What is dentistry?

Dentistry, also known as dental medicine or oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that focuses on the teeth, gums, and mouth. It involves the study, diagnosis, prevention, management, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, primarily focused on dentition and oral mucosa.

The practice is performed by a dentist, who may also include other aspects of the craniofacial complex.

How long does it take to become a dentist?

In many countries, dentists usually complete between five and eight years of post-secondary education before practicing. Though not mandatory, many dentists choose to complete an internship or residency focusing on specific aspects of dental care after they have received their dental degree.

In a few countries, to become a qualified dentist, one must usually complete at least four years of postgraduate study

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What do dentists do?

Generally, dentists assess the general oral health of patients and offer dental health and disease prevention advice. Dentists carry out clinical operations, including examinations, extractions, crowns, implants, fillings, and corrective surgery. They recognize, evaluate, and manage oral health issues.

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Where do dentists work?

Dentists work in private practices, dental hospitals, or secondary care institutions.

Areas of specialization in dentistry

A dentist assists you in keeping your gums and teeth in good condition. However, some dentists specialize in addressing particular conditions. These specialists complete two to three years of extra study and training in their chosen profession following their graduation from a four-year dentistry program.

As a dentist, you can choose to concentrate on a variety of areas, such as:

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Pedodontics:
• treats children, adolescents, and teens.

Endodontics:
• specializes in root canal therapy.
• referred to by dentists for complex cases.

Periodontics:
• diagnoses and treats gum disease and other conditions affecting tooth tissues.

Prosthodontics:
• specializes in creating natural-looking dental restorations.

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Oral and maxillofacial surgery:
• Treats diseases, defects, and injuries of jaws and other orofacial structures.
• commonly performs wisdom teeth removal.

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Oral and maxillofacial pathology:
• studies the causes and effects of oral disease.
• provides diagnoses for complex cases.

Oral and maxillofacial radiology:
• interprets dental X-rays, CT scans, and other dental imaging tests.

Public health dentistry:
• improves oral health within communities.

Dental anesthesiology:
• offers advanced pain management services.

Oral medicine:
• diagnosis and treatment of people with chronic medical issues.

Orofacial pain management:
• focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pain.

Cosmetic dentistry:
• improves smile appearance.

Implant dentistry:
• places dental implants.

Reconstructive dentistry:
• Treats people with extensive cavities or gum disease.

Forensic dentistry:
• examines teeth and interprets dental records for legal purposes.

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How to become a dentist

To practice dentistry, a license is required, which involves a four-year bachelor’s degree and a four-year dental school degree. Most dentists take eight years to complete these requirements, with some offering accelerated programs. Specialization may prolong the timeline. Each state’s licensing requirements vary, so research the rules in your state.

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Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for dental school enrollment, with some institutions offering pre-dental plans to ensure relevant classes.

While dental schools don’t require specific majors, a degree in science like chemistry or biology can help complete prerequisite courses. Students typically earn a bachelor’s degree in four years.

Step Two: Take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

You must pass the DAT to get into dental school. The DAT is a multiple-choice test that surveys your knowledge of the natural sciences and assesses your quantitative reasoning, perceptual ability and reading comprehension.

Step Three: Earn a Dentistry Degree

A dentist requires a professional degree, either doctor of dental surgery or doctor of dental medicine. Both degrees have the same educational requirements and are accepted by licensure boards. Dental programs involve classroom and laboratory instruction, hands-on practice, patient treatment, and practice management courses.

Step Four: Complete an Internship

To become ready for a career in dentistry, completing an internship, clinical, or field experience is highly recommended. Experience in laboratory research and other dental-related fields is provided via these possibilities. In particular, internships are beneficial if you intend to work in a specialty field of dentistry.

Step Five: Pass a Clinical Examination

In most states, after you satisfy educational requirements and pass written examinations, you must also pass a clinical examination. Clinical examinations may take place throughout your last year of dental school or over two to three days, depending on your state’s requirements.

Step Six: Pass the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE®)

The INBDE is a two-day examination that assesses your clinical skills and foundational knowledge to ensure you are ready to work as a dentist. The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations governs this exam. Results are valid across the United States.

Step Seven: Obtain Licensure

After you complete your education and examination requirements, you can apply for licensure through your state’s licensing board. The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains a database of each jurisdiction’s dental licensing board.

Step Eight: Pursue a Specialty (Optional)

If you plan to work in a specialty, such as endodontics, orthodontics or pediatric dentistry, you must complete a residency to learn more about your intended career path. These residencies typically take one to two years, but residencies for more complex specialties may take additional time.

There are 12 certifying boards for dental specialties, and each board has its own certification requirements.

How much does a dentist make?
Dentists in the U.S. earned a median annual salary of $159,530 in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, salaries vary by specialty and employment location. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons earned $239,200 or more, while orthodontists earned $174,360. The BLS predicts a 4% growth in dentist employment from 2022 to 2032.
Also, A person working as Dentist in Nigeria typically earns around 825,000 NGN. Salaries range from 429,000 NGN (lowest) to 1,260,000 NGN (highest).

Top 20 Highest Paying Countries for Dentists

20. Belgium

Belgium, a multicultural and welcoming European country, is known for its high quality of life, education, and healthcare. With numerous highly ranked universities offering English courses and years of experience, it’s an ideal choice for international students seeking study abroad.

Belgium provides both public and private dental care, with public healthcare covering basic services and reimbursements up to 75%. Private insurance supplements public policies for comprehensive coverage, and dentists may require annual oral exams for reimbursements.

The estimated salary for a Dentist is $190390 per year in Belgium, making Belgium one of the highest paying countries for dentists.

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19. Sweden

A person working in Dental in Sweden typically earns around 69,200 SEK

18. Finland

To work as a dentist in Finland, one must have a valid dental degree, Finnish language proficiency, pass the Valvira recognition process, secure a work permit and visa, and complete an internship. Salary depends on education, experience, and location.

The 5.5-year basic degree in dentistry focuses on the role of the dental health care system and dentists in holistic health care. Graduates will work as experts in oral health promotion, disease prevention, diagnostics, and care, directing patients to other healthcare professionals as needed. The education includes preclinical and clinical stages, with the preclinical stage focusing on theoretical medical studies.

Clinical work is learned in a simulation environment, followed by working in a teaching clinic under specialists. A compulsory six-month practical placement is required before graduation.

A Dentist working in Finland will typically earn around 128,500 EUR per year

17. Netherlands

To practice as a dentist in the Netherlands, you must register with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, obtain a work permit, demonstrate B2+ Dutch language proficiency, and be listed in the BIG register. Dentists from the EU or EEA must pass qualification recognition tests.

Job opportunities can be found on platforms like KNMT’s Dentistry Job Bank or dental recruitment agencies. The average salary for a dentist in the Netherlands is €100,000.

16. France

A dentist in France gets an average salary of €100,000. The education and practice of dentistry in France is under the jurisdiction of a governmental agency called the Ordre National des Chirurgiens-Dentistes.

15. United Arabs Emirates

The UAE offers a promising career opportunity for dentists, with a booming economy and competitive salaries ranging from AED 15,000 to AED 20,000 per month. The dental licensing process is well-structured, with exams specific to each emirate.

Dentists can start practicing just two months after clearing license exams, with salaries starting at $53,000 and a tax-free income. The UAE is a hassle-free, cosmopolitan paradise, making it one of the best countries to practice dentistry.

14. Japan

Japan is one of the countries with the highest salaries for dentists. Accordin to SalaryExperts, the average salary for a dentist working in Japan is ¥17,248,081 or an equivalent hourly rate of ¥8,292. In addition, they earn an average bonus of ¥601,958.

An entry level dentist (1-3 years of experience) earns an average salary of ¥11,773,976. On the other end, a senior level dentist (8+ years of experience) earns an average salary of ¥21,603,143.

13. Germany

The average dentist salary is €80,000 a year, making Germany one of the highest paying countries for dentists. Germany offers dentistry programs at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at public and private universities. A dentistry degree takes four to six years to complete, while a postgraduate degree, such as a master’s degree, takes two years.

Germany is known for offering affordable dentistry programs, especially compared to other developed European countries like the U.K. At public universities, administrative fees range from €200 to €300 per semester. Dentists in Germany earn high salaries, with an average monthly salary of €8,660.

Graduates can work in various institutions, including private practices, dental hospitals, outpatient care centers, physician’s offices, prisons, and military bases. Private dental schools in Germany have higher tuition fees than public ones, so it’s essential to check the price with the chosen university.

The difficult part is that you need to demonstrate proficiency in the tough German language, as patient communication and documentation are typically conducted in German. This may require passing language proficiency exams such as the TestDaF or DSH.

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12. Norway

Norway is a top country for dentists, but dental care is not free, except for children and older patients. Basic dental examinations and treatment cost between NOK 1,000 and NOK 2,000, with more complex procedures costing more.

Most Norwegians opt for dental care abroad, particularly in Eastern Europe. An average annual salary is $73,500, with an average dentist in Oslo earning $180,000 a year. Dentists from abroad may need to pass the Authorisation Exam and have language proficiency.

The demand for dental work is high, especially for children’s treatments. However, higher taxes and living costs may be a concern.

11. Denmark

Denmark’s dental practice is renowned for its advanced healthcare system, advanced technologies, and high patient care standards. The Danish Government provides high-quality healthcare services, leading to a high standard of living.

Dentists in Denmark focus on prevention, health promotion, and treatment of children and adults in private or community clinics. Dentists in Denmark are among the highest earners in the profession globally. The estimated salary for a Dentist is $163264 per year in Denmark.

The study program for dentistry includes a Bachelor’s and Master’s program, with clinical and theoretical courses taught in Danish. Completion of both programs leads to the profession as a practicing dentist.

10. New Zealand

New Zealand is a top choice for dentists due. The country’s competitive environment and commitment to high dental care standards make it an excellent destination for dental professionals.

Prospective dentists must hold registration with the Dental Council of New Zealand and possess an Annual Practising Certificate (APC). It is one of the highest-paying countries for dentists.

9. United Kingdom

The UK requires a 5-year GDC-approved dentistry degree and 1-to-2 years of postgraduate training for dentists. Competitive salaries are attributed to the country’s strong healthcare system and high demand for dental services.

NHS dentists earn between £40,000-£84,000. Most dentists are self-employed contractors, making between £50,000-£110,000. Private dentists earn over £150,000.

GDP dentists can arrange their own working hours, while hospital dentistry is typically short-term with irregular working hours. Self-employment in hospital dentistry is only possible for consultants.

8. Canada

Canada offers internationally trained dentists a clear pathway to practice dentistry through programs like the International Dentist Advanced Placement Program (IDAPP) and the Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program (DSATP). Canada’s dental education is renowned for its high standards and comprehensive clinical training, making it one of the best countries to study dentistry.

The average salary for a Canadian dentist is around CA$ 140,000 a year ($106,000), depending on the location and size of the practice. The top-earning dentist in the industry can make between CA$200,000 to CA$1.6 million a year.

Canadian dentists enjoy generous compensation, partly due to public healthcare provisions in certain provinces. The National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) plays a key role in the assessment and licensure of international dental graduates in Canada.

7. Spain

Spain is becoming a dentist’s paradise due to its high annual salary of $176,000, tax-friendly environment, and lower cost of living. With a climate that is warm and welcoming, Spain is the best country to practice dentistry.

The Bachelor of Dentistry at Universidad Europea offers a five-year program to equip students with the skills and knowledge to launch successful careers in oral health. To practice dentistry in Spain, dentists from abroad may need to pass an equivalence exam to demonstrate their knowledge and skills align with Spanish dental standards.

6. Ireland

Ireland has 2,000 active dentists in private practice, hospitals, and HSE Dental Service. State schemes like PRSI Dental Scheme offer annual exams for insured workers, Medical Card Dental Scheme provides free treatment for medical card holders, and HSE’s Children’s Dental Service ensures accessible care for children, solidifying Ireland as a top-tier destination for dentists.

With an average salary of $160,985, Ireland is among the top 20 highest paying countries for dentists

5. Australia

Australia’s high salaries for doctors are attributed to the country’s strong economy, well-established healthcare infrastructure, and government policies that prioritize healthcare investment. The country values quality healthcare, with a high demand for skilled medical professionals.

The remote and challenging geography in Australia creates a need for doctors in rural areas, often commanding higher compensation. The five biggest companies hiring dentists in Australia are Bupa, National Dental Care, Primary Healthcare, Maven Dental Group, and 1300 SMILES.

The average salary ranges from AU$130,000 – AU$145,000 a year. Younger doctors get a starting salary of AU$70,000 a year.

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4. Singapore

The dental market in Singapore is expected to grow by 6% annually, attracting dental professionals due to its modern healthcare infrastructure, high living standards, and multicultural environment.

Singapore’s rapid technological adaptation and quality healthcare provide a rewarding career and personal growth opportunities. The National University of Singapore is the only institution offering a full-time dental degree course, while overseas dental courses can be pursued by individuals with a degree in dentistry listed in the List of Registrable Degrees.

Singapore is one of the highest-paying countries for dentists.

3. Luxembourg

Luxembourg offers a comprehensive dental care system with an average salary of $204,736, with dentists holding special permits from the Ministry of Health and collaborating with CNS and medical associations. Health insurance covers dental services, with reimbursement ranging from 80% to 100%, and focusing on quality and patient satisfaction.

2. United States

The average yearly salary for a dentist in the US is $209,142. There is an increased demand for dental services in the US as well as limited dental schools, and a supply shortage. These factors put together is responsible for the high salary dentists in the US receive.  Also, dentists often graduate with substantial student loan debt. It is only logical that they need to earn substantially high to be able to repay the loan debt. The fee-for-service model in US healthcare incentivizes higher earnings for procedures.

Some of the best paying states include Delaware, North Dakota, Alaska, North Carolina and New Hampshire. Dental services are in demand in the US due to the oral health awareness amongst the citizens and a growing older population.

1. Switzerland

With an average salary of $216,679, Switzerland is the highest paying country for dentists.

Switzerland offers the highest salary for dentists globally due to its high cost of living, strong healthcare system, and limited dentist supply. The demand for dental services is driven by rigorous training, limited dental schools, and specialized procedures.

The cheapest countries to study dentistry

Some of the countries that offer lower tuition fees for studying dentistry include:

  1.  Mexico
  2. Hungary
  3. Poland
  4. Czech Republic
  5. India
  6. Malaysia
  7. Philippines

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