Most dentists, approximately 80 percent, are general dentists, according to the American Dental Education Association. The rest specialize in fields, such as pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and surgery, which require additional years of study and typically result in higher salaries.
Just like other professionals, dentists make less than their counterparts in the beginning of their career. In the year 2008 the lowest 10 percent of the general dentists earned an hourly wage of $34.55 per hour or $71,870 per year. However, the earning capacity of dentists keeps on increasing with their experience. For example, the top 10 percent of general dentists still earn about $100,000 per year whereas the top earners in this field can accrue up to $190,000 per year.