Cosmetic Dentist: Job Description, Salary and Requirements

Sep 23, 2019

Cosmetic dentists are dentists who provide aesthetic treatments and care for teeth. This career requires both undergraduate and postgraduate education, in addition to licensure.

Essential Information

A cosmetic dentist is responsible for maintaining the aesthetics of patients' teeth and gums. Aspiring cosmetic dentists must first complete dental school to earn a doctoral degree. Acceptance into dental school typically requires a bachelor's degree and an exam. All states in the U.S. require cosmetic dentists to be licensed as well.

Required Education Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
Licensure State dentistry license
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% for all dentists*
Median Salary (2018) $146,970 for dentists, all other specialties*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Cosmetic Dentist

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a cosmetic dentist is responsible for improving the overall dental health of his or her patient through creating and maintaining aesthetic balance and function of teeth. Dentists care for and treat problems in the mouth, including the teeth and the gums, by providing advice on mouth care and performing corrective surgeries. While most dentists work as general practitioners, some specialize, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cosmetic dentists specialize in elective, aesthetic dentistry, including bleaching, bonding, placing porcelain laminates and replacing fillings. A general practitioner may perform certain aspects of cosmetic dentistry, as well.

Salary of a Cosmetic Dentist

According to the BLS, the median salary for all other dentist specialists, which would include cosmetic dentists, was $146,970 in May 2018. Dentist salaries typically depend on location, experience, speciality and hours worked, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requirements for a Cosmetic Dentist

A cosmetic dentist must first complete dental school, earning either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.). Most accredited dental schools require a minimum of two years of college prior to entering a program, but a bachelor's degree is more commonly preferred. Along with completing entrance interviews and providing recommendations, dental school applicants must meet a school's score requirement for the Dental Admissions Test.

Most dental school programs last four years and include traditional classroom instruction in chemistry or biology, as well as laboratory work in microbiology, physiology and anatomy. Hands-on dental experience typically takes place in the last two years of dental school, under the supervision of a licensed dentist in a clinical setting.


A cosmetic dentist must also become licensed. State licensing requires the passing of the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE), used to assess an individual's knowledge of dental sciences. Each state requires the passing the written and clinical examinations, according to the American Dental Association.

Cosmetic dentists are dentists who specialize in cosmetic treatments like teeth bleaching, bonding, porcelain veneers, and other treatments or surgeries. To become a cosmetic dentist, an individual must have some undergraduate education, preferably a bachelor's degree, complete dentistry school, and gain licensure.

Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?