Dentists are health care professionals who care for their patients' teeth, gums and issues of the mouth and oral cavity. There are several dental specialties; they include orthodontia, which focuses on using braces and other appliances to straighten the teeth; oral and maxillofacial surgery, which focus on surgical procedures of the jaw and mouth; and prosthodontia, which focuses on constructing dentures and other replacements for lost teeth. Wages for dentists who practice in Texas may be affected by the region of the state where they practice as well as their specialty.
The mean annual income for dentists who practiced general dentistry across the United States was $156,850 as of May 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual income for dentists who specialized in prosthodontia was $125,400. Orthodontists earned a mean annual income of $206,190, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons earned a mean annual wage of $210,710. Dentists who practiced other specialties earned a mean annual income of $153,570.
Mean annual wages for dentists who practiced general dentistry in the state of Texas were $153,630 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Texas-based orthodontists earned mean annual wages of $181,710. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons who practiced in the state earned a mean annual wage of $181,710. Texas-based dentists who practiced other specialties had a mean annual income of $145,740.
Texas is the largest of the contiguous United States, and it includes major metropolitan areas, small towns and sparsely populated rural areas. Dentists who practiced in large cities tend to earn higher wages than those who practice in small towns and rural areas. General dentists who practiced in the west Texas town of Abilene earned the highest mean annual salaries in the state at $214,930 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Those who practiced in the Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan area, the College Station-Bryan metropolitan area and the Tyler area also earned in excess of $200,000 per year. General dentists who practiced in the non-metropolitan area of north-central Texas earned among the lowest annual wages for their profession in the state at $118,580.
New employment for all dental specialties should expand by approximately 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS. The greatest employment opportunities should be in general dentistry. Dentists who work for themselves in private practice tend to earn higher wages than dentists who are employed, but self-employed dentists must provide their own benefits, including health care, retirement savings and time off.