The Mysterious Plunge of Dentistry to #70 in the Best Careers of 2024

by Victoria Harris Victoria Harris | Apr 25, 2024 1:20:12 PM

In a plot twist that would make even the most seasoned soap opera writers blush, dentistry has nosedived from its glorious #1 perch in 2013 to a bewildering #70 in the US News and World Report's 100 Best Careers of 2024. This drop feels like showing up for a root canal and realizing you've left your anesthetic at home.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truths

Firstly, let's talk about the elephant in the room. The paycheck. Once upon a time, new dentists were rumored to be making $155,000 right out of dental school. Fast forward to now, and it's more like $90k-120k, with a side order of crippling debt. If loans were a dental condition, we’d all be in need of a full mouth rehabilitation.

And oh, the joys of dental insurance reimbursement! Trying to negotiate with insurance companies is akin to pulling teeth - ironically, something we're supposed to be good at. Spoiler alert: The rates are about as generous as a tooth fairy on a budget.


Autonomy vs. DSOs: The Epic Showdown

Remember the dream of owning your own practice? Well, enter the era of Dental Support Organizations (DSOs). They've been scooping up practices like they're on a Black Friday shopping spree, leaving many young dentists' dreams of practice ownership just that - dreams.

The Silver Lining? Maybe?

On the flip side, dental hygienists are having their moment in the sun, jumping to #24 on the list. There’s a demand for RDHs that’s pushing salaries up. It’s like suddenly finding out that your backup singer is topping the charts while you’re still playing gigs at local bars.

But here's the kicker - despite everything, the passion for dentistry burns bright. Sure, the money's great when it comes, but there's nothing quite like the thrill of helping someone smile with confidence again. And yes, even amidst the chaos of insurance, DSOs, and sky-high education costs, there's a strange sort of love for this profession.

The Road Ahead

What's next? A rallying cry for change, perhaps. Limiting the opening of new dental schools, improving education quality, and not letting DSOs and insurance companies turn our profession into a monopoly game sounds like a good start.

In the end, whether you're temping as a hygienist or navigating the tumultuous seas of dentistry, remember - it's all about the smiles we create (and also, maybe a little bit about surviving those insurance negotiations).

Here’s to hoping for a comeback, or at the very least, not dropping to #71 next year. Cheers!

See dentists discussing this on Instagram HERE and on our Dental Nachos Facebook group HERE!

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