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What Is The Best Place to Open a Dental Practice?

Date Posted: 01.17.22

Whether buying an existing dental practice or starting up your own from scratch, it’s important to decide upon a beneficial location for your new practice. You are going to spend a lot of time there, so the location must make financial sense, and make you feel content to be part of the city and state’s community. To choose the best place to open a dental practice, you need to consider all the options.

Best Place to Open a Dental Practice

What are the Best Places to Practice Dentistry?

The best place to open a dental office will allow you to thrive with a steady stream of patients who value dental health and hygiene. At the same time, the location should not be too overcrowded with other dentists.  Your practice will ideally be located in a safe and clean place that supports a good quality of life. Prioritize a convenient location for both staff and patients if you can. Wherever you choose, make sure you have the correct licensure to practice in the state.

15 Best States to Open a Dental Practice

The American Dental Association has compiled a ranking of the best states to open a dental practice. And to determine the best cities for dentists, this study factored in salaries, cost of living in the area, and demand for dentistry. According to the study, a high demand for dentistry is reflected in a high location quotient, which “measures the concentration of dentists in an area as a percentage of all occupations, and then compares that to the national average.”

Here are some of the best states for dentists, by region, to open a dental practice:

Eastern United States


Delaware’s average yearly salary for dentists is $277,160, solidifying its ranking as the best state to be a dentist. Plus, the state benefits from relatively low taxes and a population that is largely covered by insurance. As the second smallest state in the nation, it’s easy to get around, and it’s got beach sunrises. A potential drawback could be the crime rates, however. So you may benefit from a rigorous security system for your home and practice.

  • Wilmington
    $221,020 is the average annual salary for dentists in the city of Wilmington. It ranks better than half of other participating cities in the study in terms of salary, cost of living, and demand for dentists.

Southern United States


With famously mild winters, no state taxes, and plenty of theme parks and entertainment, let’s be honest: you were planning on retiring here, anyway. May as well make the move now! There are less than one thousand dentists in this state of over four million residents, so your services are needed here. However, many Floridians do not have health insurance, and the state ranks low on the number of annual dentist visits. But if you choose the right city, you may be able to make this work.

  • Port St. Lucie
    This city along the water boasts an average yearly salary of $277,870 for practicing dentists. It also has the second highest location quotient in the study, showing that there is still a demand for dentists. The cost of living is 9% less than the average city in the U.S. Despite the humidity and alligators, this city is a good bet.
Honorable Mention: South Carolina

There is a lot of availability in the field right now in South Carolina. However, that is largely because the cost of healthcare in South Carolina prevents many citizens from getting their health care needs taken care of. The average salary is $195,350. If you can make it work, you’ll enjoy the low cost of living and some of that famous southern hospitality.

Honorable Mention: Texas

There are currently not enough dentists in the nation’s second most populous state. Many are uninsured, which leads them to forgo dental visits. The cost of living remains below the national average. Plus, there is no income tax, and Austin is quickly becoming a nationwide entertainment mecca.

Western United States


There is not an abundance of dentists in Arizona – likely due to most of the population either relying on Medicaid or getting by with minimal insurance. Still, dentists are needed here. The sun shines in Arizona 300 days out of the 365 per year, and it’s got clean cities.

  • Prescott
    Prescott dentists earn an average annual salary of $205,550. This city is ranked 61% better than other participating cities based on a solid location quotient and affordable cost of living as well.

California is by far the state with the most dentists actively practicing, which makes sense, as it is the most populated state.

  • Redding
    Redding boasts a $200,740 average annual salary. It is one of eight California cities in the top 25 for practicing dentists. (Others include Santa Cruz, Fresno, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Salinas, Vallejo, and El Centro.) With just 60 dentists in Redding, there is certainly room for your practice to flourish.

Midwestern United States


Residents of Wisconsin are largely insured and tend to earn more than the nationwide average. Wisconsin dentists rank third highest for their salaries. With affordable rent and cheese galore, Wisconsin is arguably the best place to open a dental practice in the Midwest.

  • Kenosha County
    Kenosha County, Wisconsin and its neighboring Lake County, Illinois rank within the top five areas to open a dental practice. University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry just south of the area draws in the best of the best. Come here for school, stay for the competitive salaries ($222,200) and health-conscious patients.

Northeastern United States

These Northeastern states are likely to be a good home for your new dental practice, according to USA Today. That is, if you don’t mind the cold winters, shoveling snow out of your driveway, and possibly the occasional black bear sighting. But the vibrant fall foliage in all the northeastern states is unbeatable, and just may make you forget the impending bitter cold.

These recommendations are based upon four criteria: dentists per capita, salaries (adjusted for the cost of living), quality of life, and nearby dental schools. States that rank high in all these areas tend to be affluent, and tend to have an insured population that regularly frequents the dentist. (All city data below is from the study above except Burlington, Vermont. Average dentist salaries for the cities below are not adjusted for the cost of living.)


This small but happy state ranks 8th out of 50 for quality of life, and 77.8% of its adult residents have visited the dentist in the past year. Its average annual salary is $196,319.

  • Bridgeport
    Bridgeport’s average yearly salaries for dentists is $173,270. If you have kids, Connecticut’s school system is known to be one of the best in the country.

Though the annual income is not the highest at $172,359, dentists do enjoy an excellent quality of life here. Vermont ranks 7th out of 50 states for quality of life. Plus, 71.9% of residents have seen a dentist in the past year.

  • Burlington
    Burlington ranks as the best mid-size city in the nation to open a dental practice. The average yearly salary is $275,430, and there are plenty of networking opportunities with the University of Vermont Medical Center nearby. Plus, the cost of living is almost 7% lower than the country’s average.
Honorable Mention: Massachusetts

According to USA Today, Massachusetts has the best quality of life out of all 50 states! It also has the highest number of dentists per 100,000 people. Its average yearly income for dentists is $163,395 and 73.7% of adult residents have been to the dentist in the past year.

Honorable Mention: New York

Of course, if you want to focus on cosmetic work, New York City is a great place to set up your practice. But New York is more than just the city. The state of New York has an excellent quality of life (12th best of 50), and 68.5% of its adult residents have been to the dentist in the past year. Its average annual income is $138,526 state-wide.

Honorable Mention: New Hampshire

Quality of life is great here, ranking just below tropical paradise, Hawaii! Yearly salary is at $213,175 and 71.9% of adults regularly visit the dentist.

Honorable Mention: Rhode Island

The smallest state in the nation boasts the second highest yearly income at $257,749, and the second highest percentage of adults who had been to the dentist in the past year (75.8%). Quality of life ranks 13 out of 50 states, and it currently has about 54 dentists per 100,000 people.

What about Alaska and Hawaii?

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about them! Both Alaska and Hawaii rank high on these studies. The long, dark winters of Alaska and high cost of living in Hawaii aren’t for everyone, but these beautiful states are in fact dentist-friendly.


Our largest state is within the top half of best states for dentists to practice in. Average yearly income is the third highest of all the states (adjusted for cost of living) at $247,939 and it has the second highest number of dentists per 100,000 people.

  • Anchorage
    Anchorage ranks as the 12th most hospitable city for new dental practices, with an average yearly salary of $219,780. With 130 dentists practicing in the largest state’s largest city, there is room for your practice.

Hawaii ranks within the top 10 states to open a dental office according to USA Today. Quality of life is, of course, unbeatable. Average income is $160,302 yearly, and 72.7% of Hawaiian residents tend to visit the dentist.

  • Honolulu
    Honolulu, the biggest city on the island chain, has an average annual salary of $172,720. Just 350 dentists currently serving the area may be your sign to move to the Aloha State to offer your services.

At the end of the day, the best state to practice dentistry is a highly subjective choice. Family ties and networking opportunities will likely play a significant role in your decision, as well. Once you choose the best state and city for your practice, the next step is to narrow down the zip code.

Let Cloud 9 Software Help with Your Transition

Let Cloud 9 Software Help with Your Transition

The best place to be a dentist depends upon where you are the most comfortable personally and financially. After you’ve narrowed down your search to the perfect location, you’ll likely find that the practice needs a software management upgrade. Consider the services of Cloud 9 Software to help you digitally and securely manage your patients’ information, ditch the outdated servers, and strive to be paperless. Request a demo or read our customers’ stories to learn more about how we can help you find your forever dental practice home and let you know how to grow your dental practice.