Orthodontists treat irregularities in the alignment of the teeth and jaw. Like general dentists, they must have a license to practice in any state or the District of Columbia. Licenses in most state allow dentists to work as general dentists or as specialists. In the most recent Bureau of Labor statistics, 7,700 out of 141,900 dentists practised as orthodontists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for May 2009, orthodontists in the United States received an average yearly income of £134,023. This number does not represent actual average earnings. The Bureau get this figure by multiplying the average hourly wage of £64.4 by 2,080 hours per year. The actual earnings for an orthodontist earning the hourly average depend on the number of hours worked.
The government supplies statistics for the lowest-earning 10 and 25 per cent of orthodontists. The bottom 10 per cent earned £66,397 yearly in 2009, while the bottom 25 per cent earned £102,596. Thus the average earner earned twice as much as the lowest earner.
Highest-Paying Industry for Orthodontists
According to the 2009 statistics, by far the highest paying jobs for orthodontists were in dentists' offices, with an average annual pay of £135,791. General hospitals paid significantly less, at £73,827, while physicians' offices paid only £65,169.
States with Many Orthodontists
Among states with more than 100 orthodontists, some paid better than others. The highest-paying state, Alabama, paid an annual average of £145,645, while Oregon paid £133,315. Oklahoma also paid nearly £13,000 per year. The state with the most jobs in the survey, Colorado, had 170 orthodontists but paid them an average of only £90,415 per year.
Comparison with General Dentists
Orthodontists earn comparatively better than general dentists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 general dentists took home average annual earnings of £101,952. This figure represents an hourly wage of £49.0 multiplied by 2,080 hours in a year. Orthodontists, at a yearly £134,023, made nearly £32,500 more per year. Oral surgeons, on the other hand, earned a mean annual wage of £136,961, a bit more than orthodontists.
Other Employment Factors
The Bureau of Labor Statistics's numbers do not include self-employed orthodontists, who often earn more than those working as employees. However, self-employed orthodontists have additional expenses, including office equipment, insurance and retirement planning. Some orthodontists work shorter or longer hours than the assumed 40 hours per week. The actual yearly income of an orthodontist earning an average hourly wage will therefore vary.