Dentists are needed in many places, but rural areas are one of the most underserved. Patients living in rural areas often have difficulty accessing health care due to the distance between them and the nearest doctor. To better understand the need for dentists in different states, The News & World Report conducted an affordability ranking of all 50 states based on two metrics. The scores were on a scale of 1 to 50, with 1 being the best and 50 being the worst.
You can read more about their methodology here. To give an idea of how much dentists can earn in each state, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data for general dentists is provided below, from highest to lowest salaries. According to The News & World Report, dentistry was ranked as the second best job in the country overall and the best health care job in the country, citing a low unemployment rate, good pay and a good work-life balance. In addition, some dental offices hire specialized locum tenens dentists (endodontists or periodontists) as needed, instead of referring outpatients who need such care.