Data from the American Dental Association and other sources indicates that pediatric dentistry is now the fastest growing dental specialty due to soaring demand for children’s dentistry and an ongoing shortage of pediatric dentists. With attractive incomes, long-term job security, and high patient demand, there has never been a better time to enter the profession. As evidenced by the 4.6% increase in applicants to U.S. pedodontic programs between 2013 and 2014, more dentists than ever are vying to join the specialty. For dentists who love working with children, pediatric dentistry is a great career choice with a promising future. Here’s why:
- High Income: On average, pediatric dentists earn annual incomes that are $100,000 higher than general dentists. According to 2017 data from the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, “The average net income for private practice pediatric dentists was $304,280.”
- Job Security: Unlike some forms of elective and cosmetic dentistry, which are more susceptible to the ups and downs of a changing economy, children’s dentistry is seen as somewhat recession proof. While adults may forgo even necessary dental procedures in times of financial difficulty, they are less likely to delay dental care for their children. By and large, parents are more willing to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for their children’s dental and medical needs than their own.
- Growing Patient Demand: In many areas of the country, especially poorer and more rural areas, the demand for pediatric dentists far exceeds the supply. In concert with this provider shortage, the demand for children’s dentistry services is skyrocketing for a multitude of reasons. Tooth decay is on the rise in children, due to high consumption of sugar and poor oral hygiene in certain demographics. Simultaneously, the public is becoming better educated on the relationship between oral health and overall health, leading more parents to seek dental care for their children early in life. And now, with the Affordable Care Act, as many as 8.7 million additional children are expected to have dental benefits, which will bring demand for pediatric dentists to unprecedented levels.
Pediatric dentistry is, and will remain for decades to come, a secure and lucrative career path. But beyond that, the profession also offers dentists a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Pediatric dentists serve the youngest, most vulnerable members of our population, and they play a vital role in the oral health of children everywhere.