Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Holly Olson.
A couple of weeks ago on my Instagram, I asked you all if you’re interested in and became a specialist or a general dentist. And I was really surprised with the number of people that really want to go into specialty programs. So I think it was about like 64% people that wanted to become specialists and asked you all which specialties you’re interested in. And there are the three top ones that everyone seems to just want to be, which is orthodontist, pediatric dentist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon. So I’m going to be going down the list of nine different dental specialties, and I order them by how popular they are, as in how like the most applicants and the least applicants.
And all the data that I got was from the 2017 to 2018 survey of advanced dentistry, which you can find on the Ada website.
The first one is orthodontics. Orthodontics, as you know, everyone knows deals with braces, a lot of people are having braces. So that’s why they want to become more dentists. I guess. I think according to the 2017 to 2018 data had 11,279 applicants and 393 applicants were accepted, which means it has a 3.5% acceptance rate and the orthodontics program is a two to a three-year program.
They’re also among the better-paid dental practitioners, making, on average, $207,350 per year.
And the second most popular specialty is pediatric dentistry. As the name implies, pediatric means children. Pediatric dentists deal with patients who are 18 and under had 11,118 applicants with 457 that were accepted with a 4.1% acceptance rate. And the program is between two to three years.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery
The third most popular specialty would have to be oral and maxillofacial surgery. And they do more than just tooth extractions. They deal with being out cysts and tumors and reconstructing the jaw and dealing with soft tissue or anything like that. Trauma. So that’s what oral surgeons do. It is very competitive, and they have 10,440 applicants with 262 that were accepted as the lowest acceptance rate out of all the other specialties, which makes sense. It had a 2.5% acceptance rate. The program can range from four to six years and six years includes two years of medical school and then four years of oral surgery training.
Surgeons in general tend to be the highest-paid specialists in the field, averaging a salary of about $217,000 a year.
The fourth dental specialty is endodontics, and endodontics is more than just root canals. Their philosophy is to save the tooth. They don’t want to take it out. Like oral surgeons do want to keep the tooth. It can be saved. They deal with pulpal and periapical tissues, and that pretty much means pulpal is the nerve of the tooth inside and the periapical is around the root of the tooth.
The program is two to three years, and it has 4,327 applicants with 220 that are accepted without 5.1% acceptance rate.
Endodontists are also among the higher-paid dental practitioners, earning on average about $200,000 per year.
Next, the fifth most popular dental specialty is periodontics. People think it as like the “gum doctor”, which is like so much more than that. Periodontium actually means like the different tissues that support the tooth. It’s more than just the gums. It’s like the ligaments and things like that. And some procedures that they do is crown lengthening. So if you have like a gummy smile, they’ll, they can fix that.
They can do gum grafts, they can do pocket reductions was a cool procedure too. And it has 2,562 applicants with 199 acceptance and 7.8% acceptance rate.
The sixth most popular dental specialty is prosthodontics. They deal with fixing and replacing missing teeth actually. And they deal with a lot of aesthetic issues too. So besides dentures, they work with crowns, bridges, anything that can replace missing teeth and add beauty to it. It has 2,277 applicants with 159 that are accepted with a 7% acceptance rate.
Dental public health
Dental public health deals with the control and the prevention of dental disease and each year about 166 applicants apply and 36 people make it with a 21.7% evidence rate and the program is about 14 and a half months.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Then there is the eighth most popular, which is the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, not surgery but radiology, so this has to deal with a lot of the advancements of our technology today. In the dental department, there can be a 2.5-5 year program, and about 150 applicants apply in 18 people are accepted with an acceptance rate of 12%.
Oral and maxillofacial pathology
And the last dental specialty would have to be oral and maxillofacial pathology. So there’s surgery, radiology, and then pathology. These are dentists that really work or behind the scenes, they work with microscopes, they take biopsies, work with radio, gas, and they kind of decipher a lot of the pathology and the diseases that can go on in the oral and maxillofacial area.
They don’t directly deal with patients. They’re more of like the behind the scenes kind of detective. Each year about 91 applicants apply, and 16 people make it and 17.6% acceptance rate. And the program is about three years.
There’s a lot of stats and everything and you might be worried, oh my God, like I can’t be an oral surgeon because there’s a 2.5% acceptance rate as I was not necessarily the case. Just because these numbers are really like scary and daunting doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes, and we keep continuing to dream big, work hard, and never to give up to reach whatever your goals may be, whether it is to become a specialist or a general dentist, which is absolutely fine.
Coming down below the specialty that you are most surprised about, like, wow, it existed. I comment down below what specialty you are interested in.