Dentists: Does 99 Dollars an Hour Make You a Wealthy Dentist?

Dentists: Does 99 Dollars an Hour Make You a Wealthy Dentist?Dentists make $99.00 an hour, which is more than orthopaedic surgeons but less than nurse anesthetists, according to a study by Suneel B. Bhat, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident and his colleagues at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Presented this month at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) 2012 Annual Meeting, Dr. Bhat’s study found that becoming an orthopaedic surgeon was a “poor financial investment” compared with studying law, dentistry, or anesthesia nursing, according to Medscape Today News.

“Our study, the first direct comparison of the financial return of orthopaedic surgery to other professions, highlights the point that there is a relatively lower financial value incentive for qualified individuals to enter orthopaedics compared to several other professions, which could potentially have far-reaching implications on career choice and subsequent access to care for patients,” the authors concluded.

The Medscape report revealed that the researchers found that dentists earned a cumulative career total of $6,866,796.

That was less than the $10,756,190 made by orthopaedic surgeons, the $8,381,250 made by lawyers, and the $7,338,412 made by nurse anesthetists, but more than the $3,867,504 made by nurse practitioners.

Also published in the report is the amount of debt factored into the study for orthopaedic surgery students, which has increased by $34,000 for public schools and $40,000 in private schools over the past five years.

Since 1984, the medical school tuition has raised in public institutions by 165% and in private institutions 312%. They assumed that educational loans would be deferred until the annual liability was less than 25% of earnings, and that interest on the loans was 8.25%, according to Medscape.

When hourly income was calculated, orthopaedic surgeons made $88.00 per hour, compared to $93.00 for nurse anesthetists, $130.00 for lawyers, $49.00 nurse practitioners, and $99.00 for dentists.

The lingering recession has taken a bite out of dentists’ incomes over the past 4 years with many laying off employees and postponing retirement. The average dentist salary according to the U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics is $74.00 an hour, with some new dentists earning $26.00 per hour at the lower salary range, while dentists at the upper range earn $80.00 per hour.

Another recent study compared the earning of high school graduates who skipped college and grad school expenses and went directly into the trades. The study compared a plumber with no advance educational cost and debt to a physician. The plumber came out ahead on life time earnings.

The real kicker was that the physicians not only got nailed for the extra school costs and debt expense, but were taxed by the government at a higher rate on their delayed earnings.

With the cost of higher education continuing to rise and the amount of student loan debt graduates carry after graduation, do you think dentists leaving dental school today still have the opportunity to become a wealthy dentist?

For more on this study see: Dentists’ Hourly Income Better Than Orthopaedic Surgeons’

Dental Financing Important in Tough Times

In this survey, the majority of dentists said they offer their patients outside financing options.

Very few dental practices these days offer their own financing. “We’ve never offered inside financing,” wrote one prosthodontist. “We don’t want to deal with any problems, so we farm the financing out.”

Here are some other things dentists had to say:

  • “It is more difficult now for people to afford one more payment that they need to come up with the money for. In this economic climate, if it doesn’t hurt to offer financing if they want to wait.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It really increases production and collections. Patients love the 0% financing.” (California dentist)
  • “Outside financing has been a tremendous financial boon for our practice. Relationships stay where they should be when the payment is to a 3rd party.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “We use Care Credit.” (California periodontist)
  • “We’ve never offered inside financing. Everyone I’ve talked to says DON’T DO IT!” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We are surprised by the number of patients who are turned down by the outside agency. In most cases, we would have provided in-house arrangements.” (Ohio oral surgeon)

Read more: Dentists Prefer Outside Dental Financing,/p>

Dental Marketing Essential During a Recession (VIDEO)

Many dentists are increasing their dental marketing as a direct result of the slumping economy, this survey revealed.

Thirty-eight percent of dentists reported they had increased dental marketing, while 33% said they had cut spending and were tightening their belts.

Read more: When Things Are Slow, Marketing Keeps It Moving

Economic Changes at the Dental Practice

The recession economy is leading to changes for 3 of 4 dentistsIn this survey, three of four dentists (74%) said they have made changes as a result of the slow economy.

Half (48%) said they’re reducing office expenses, 30% are instituting layoffs or staff reductions, and 13% are reducing employee compensation.

In terms of  dental marketing, 30% have increased their spending, while 9% have reduced marketing costs.

Here are some of their comments:

  • “In rural areas, the downturn is not affecting us as much. We don’t see the big ‘ups,’ but also don’t see the big ‘downs.'” (General dentist)
  • “People are reluctant to spend.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “We are relying upon the internet for more of our new patients, especially Yelp.com.”
  • “Fewer chairside hours.” (California dentist)
  • “We did not lay off team members, but we chose to work with a smaller team and did not replace some team when attrition occurred. Team has 6, including 1 dentist.” (Canada dentist)
  • “We added staff.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “We have added new procedures.” (Texas orthodontist)
  • “We negotiated and joined a couple of dental insurance plans. We negotiated a very good fee schedule and are getting more new patients, too!” (Ohio prosthodontist)

Read more: Recession Economy Affects Dentists, Dental Practices

Dentist Salary: 2 Out of 3 Dentists Say They Are Not Wealthy (video)

Dentist Salary: 2 Out of 3 Dentists Say They Are Not WealthyAccording to the ADA website, the average dentist salary for an independent private dental practitioner who owns all or part of his or her practice in 2009 was $192,680 for a general practitioner and $305,820 for a specialist.

Considering the state of the economy, we wondered if this is still an accurate financial assessment of dental incomes.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they think that they are wealthy. Two out of three dentists said no, they are not in fact wealthy.

“The idea that all dentists are wealthy is absurd,” wrote a Minnesota dentist. “The public has no idea what it costs to run a dental clinic. Lab bills are $12,000 a month. Salaries are $20,000 a month. Add in equipment, rent, liability insurance, and of course, endless supplies, and now you have some very serious overhead. In reality, dentists must produce so very much revenue before they pay themselves that very few dentists are truly wealthy.”

Click on Play to watch the video and hear what dentists are saying about being wealthy –

Do you feel that most dentists are wealthy? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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