Best Cities for Dentists

Dentists are unsung heroes and defenders against cavities, plaque, and gum disease. If dental health and teeth cleanings are your thing, you've found the best occupation for you - we'll help you find the best place to be a dentist. ValuePenguin has gathered and researched data on the best places to practice as a dentist. Using a combination of factors from dentists' salaries, the employment concentration of dentists, and cost of living, we've put together the Top Ten Best Cities for Dentists.

*Related: Best Blogs for Dentists*

Before we dive directly into the top ten cities, here are some salary and employment facts for dentists. Our methodology for determining the best places for dentists is after the table.

The average salary for a dentist in the United States as of May 2012 is $171,204. Salaries for dentists can range anywhere from $44,830 in the San Juan / Caguas / Guaynabo metropolitan area in Puerto Rico to $248,410 in Spokane, Washington. The median salary for dentists, which ValuePenguin uses as the basis for the rankings, is $141,790 (related: Dentist Salary*). There are 79,110 dentists employed in the United States as of May 2012.The job outlook for dentists is rosy: dentists' jobs are projected to grow 21% from 2010 - 2020, which is 7 percentage points above the national job growth of 14%.

Best Cities for Dentists

1. Tacoma, WA

With a median salary of $186,370, Tacoma, WA ranks as the best place to be a dentist on our list. Dentists in Tacoma command the highest reported median salary across the U.S. There are 370 dentists serving the city, which is twice the national average of dentists employed in the typical U.S. city. With its natural and cultural attractions, Tacoma, WA is a great place to be a dentist. After office hours, you can get in some agritourism, golfing, or hiking at Mount Rainier - and with a low cost of living index of 106, you can unwind, eat, and live without breaking the bank.

More: Other Tacoma, WA statistics

2.Kokomo, IN

Coming in #2 on our list is Kokomo, IN, home to 45,468 residents. There are 70 dentists practicing in Kokomo, which gives it the highest location quotient in our top ten list. The median salary for dentists in Kokomo, IN is $169,000. When you couple that with a low cost of living index of 82, any dollar earned in Kokomo will stretch further. You can spend them at places like the Kokomo Automotive Museum, home to the first car in the U.S. and other classic automobiles. There are a number of galleries showcasing art and glass-blowing that you can while your time away at as well.

3.Coeur d'Alene, ID

Couer d'Alene is perhaps the most outdoorsy city on our list for dentists. Situated on the beautiful banks of Lake Coeur d'Alene, the city's high median salary of $171,960 and high location quotient nets it the third best place to be a dentist. Dentists with practices here will be within driving distance of fifty five lakes and have access to a host of watersports, nature trails, and fine dining available in the region.

Related: More facts about Idaho

4. Ocala, FL

Minutes away from Silver Spring, a national landmark and nature preserve, Ocala, FL is another top place for dental practices. The city is located in an idyllic part of North Florida known as "horse country" and home to the world's largest sand pine forest. There are 120 dentists in Ocala, FL with a median salary of $163,580. Bottom line: if you're an equestrian with a penchant for teeth cleanings, Ocala, FL may be a great future home for you.

5.Lawrence, MA; Methuen, MA; Salem, NH

Rounding out the top five cities for dentists is the Lawrence-Methuen-Salem metropolitan area. There are about 80 dentists practicing in Lawrence / Methuen / Salem, a New England region located on the Northern bank of the Merrimack River. It has one of the higher location quotients and cost of living index (of 125) on our list, and its dentists are reported to have median salaries of $168,080.

Top Ten Best Cities for Dentists

RankCityMedian SalaryDentistsLocation QuotientCost of LivingScore
1Tacoma, WA$186,3703702.010694
2Kokomo, IN$169,000702.48293
3Coeur d’Alene, ID$171,960601.759989
4Ocala, FL$163,5801201.98687
5Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA/NH$168,080801.8512586
6Camden, NJ$171,4105301.509186
7Columbus, OH$168,6809801.498784
8Tulsa, OK$170,6504201.428884
9Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX$170,2001401.268282
10Albuquerque, NM$153,7504601.7610379


For a deeper look into the dental field, ValuePenguin reports on the best cities for dentists to consider for career prospects. We ranked U.S. cities based on three key questions:

1. How much money do dentists make in the city?

We ranked cities based on the median annual pay as a substantial factor in the decision process for generalist dentists looking for work. Of course, a high salary for a dentist in an expensive city may not outweigh a lower salary in an affordable town. That's why we posed our second question...

2. How expensive is it to live there?

In conjunction with the median annual salary for dentists in a city, cost of living helps determine how far your dollar will go. For this particular variable, cities with lower cost of living ranked highly in our study.

3. What is the location quotient of dentists in the city?

A town with a high average salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our study factors in cities with high dentist location quotient. Location quotient measures the concentration of dentists in the city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average. We infer a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for dental services.


  • Median Salary: cities with the highest median annual salary for generalist dentists, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data as of May 2012
  • Cost of Living: cities with the lowest cost of living, with data sourced from Sperling's Best Places COL Calculator. Data as of July 2013
  • Employment: cities with the highest location quotient metrics, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Data as of May 2012
  • Photo Courtesy: Flickr / starush

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