Dentists take care of teeth and the tissues inside the mouth. They may be generalists, handling such tasks as teeth cleaning, filling cavities, providing dental exams or repairing fractured teeth. Or they can specialise in fabricating appliances that either restore normal tooth function or replace missing teeth. Most dentists are in private practice and may supervise a small dental staff.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of May 2009, the median salary for dentists is £44.4 per hour or £92,358 per year, with the bottom 10 per cent making £21.8 per hour, or £45,363 annually, and the top 10 per cent earning over £52 per hour, or £108,160 per year.
The type of industry adjusts pay. The top five highest-paying for this job are dentists offices with pay of £49.8 per hour, or £103,577 annually; state government with pay of £46.8 per hour, or £97,513 annually; speciality hospitals (not including psychiatric) with pay of £46.2 per hour, or £96,161 annually; facilities support services with pay of £46.1 per hour, or £96,037 annually; and employment services with pay of £44.7 per hour, or £93,106 annually.
The state in which the job is located can determine salaries. The highest-paying for this profession are Maine with compensation at £64.3 per hour, or £133,874 annually, Alaska with compensation at £62.4 per hour, or £129,818 annually, Delaware with compensation at £62.1 per hour, or £129,200 annually, North Dakota with compensation at £61.3 per hour, or £127,692 annually, and Vermont with compensation at £61.1 per hour, or £127,270 annually.
The city of employment affects pay. The highest-paying for this job are San Luis Obispo, California; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Columbus, Georgia; and Anderson, South Carolina, all with wages over £52 per hour, or £108,160 annually. The BLS ranks Rocky Mount, North Carolina, as No. 5, with its wages at £73.8 per hour, or £153,614 annually.
Specialists earn slightly more than general dentists with a mean wage of £47.9 per hour or £99,820 annually. Orthodontists, who work with oral cavities and can design appliances to align teeth, earn a mean of £64.4 per hour or £1,340,235 annually. Prosthodontists, who construct protheses to replace missing teeth or correct mouth deformations, make a mean of £34.7 per hour or £81,510 annually. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons combine both medical and dental degrees, and specialised surgery training. Their mean wages run £65.80 per hour or £136,961 annually.
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