Dentists’ Salary in South Africa: See What They Earn

Dentists help us provide care for our teeth and buccal cavity. Their job is quite demanding and takes a lot of dedication. One of the major motivations to work as a dentist in South Africa is the salary.

This is why it is not surprising that quite a number of people search for information regarding dentists salary in South Africa. Before we get into details regarding their salary, it is important that we go through some other key information about dentists.

dentist salary in south africa

By the time you are done reading this post, you should not only know about dentists’ salary in South Africa. You’ll know who a dentist is, the educational requirements to study dentistry, and the process involved.

Who is a dentist?

Dentists are medical personnel that are involved in diagnosis dental problems, treatment, and prevention of diseases relating to the oral cavity. They usually work in conjunction with a dental team. The team is usually made up of:

  • Dental assistants
  • Dental hygienists
  • Dental technicians
  • Dental therapists (in some cases).

By the way, dentists are also known as dental surgeons. Some of their responsibilities include:

  1. Diagnostic work. This majorly focuses on the examination of teeth as well as the tissues in the oral cavity. This leads to the diagnosis of abnormalities or diseases plaguing an individual.
  2. Preventive work. They provide patients sufficient information regarding how best to maintain dental health. They take it further by tutoring these patients on oral decay, causes, and prevention methods. Finally, they teach how to maintain oral hygiene and they help in the removal of plaque.
  3. Corrective treatment. This involves conducting dental x-rays, cleaning of the teeth, filling of cavities, treatment of abscesses and gum infections. They extract teeth when the need arises and create false teeth, bridges, and crowns.
  4. Surgical procedures. This includes the treatment of fractures in the jaws and removal of bad teeth.
  5. Administrative duties. They oversee the procurement of supplies, bookkeeping, and the supervision of their dental team.

Since their occupation is dentistry, let’s define the term dentistry as well.

How much do dentists earn in South Africa?

This post will not be complete without this question being answered. A dentist at entry level (between 0 and 1 year of experience) will earn about R409 268 annually including bonuses and overtime pay. This should increase to about R411 137 when the individual has gained up to 5 years of experience.

By the time the individual has attained between 5 and 9 years of experience, the pay rises to R500 000. At the prime of practice, between 10 and 19 years of experience, a dentist should be earning R713 495.

Educational requirements to study dentistry in South Africa

Just like every other course of study, there are certain requirements that must be met educationally to be accepted to study dentistry. In South Africa, an applicant to study dentistry is required to have a National Senior Certificate that satisfies all the requirements of the course.

As expected, every institution has a list of requirements which are peculiar to it. However, the general requirements are passes in the following subjects:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Physical Sciences

It is required that you also excel in Life Sciences.

Required Training to become a Dentist in South Africa

Prior to being selected into any institution to study dentistry in South Africa, an applicant is passed through a series of selection processes. After this, the applicant is offered provisional admission to study dentistry and bag either a BDS or BChD in dentistry.

The study period is usually five years which comprises classwork, practical studies, and clinical work. The clinical work is usually carried out at a dental hospital which is attached to the University of study.

After completing the five years of study, the dentist is required to register as a member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the South Africa Dental Association. To keep up with the trends in the dental profession, the dentist needs to add several qualifications such as Masters and Doctorate.

Some dentists go-ahead to specialize in different aspects of dentistry after their undergraduate degrees. The different fields of dentistry include:

  1. Oral pathology
  2. Orthodontics
  3. Prosthodontics
  4. Community Dentistry
  5. Periodontics or oral medicine
  6. Oral surgery or maxilio facial

Employers of dentists in South Africa

Dentistry is one of the most lucrative fields of study in the medical profession in South Africa. The major employers of labor in this sector include:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Private practice
  3. Universities
  4. Industries
  5. Municipal Clinics
  6. Research Institutions

What is dentistry?

Dentistry is an arm of medical science. It is also known as Dental and Oral Medicine and it focuses on studying, diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases or abnormalities that affect the buccal cavity. The major focus is usually the oral mucosa and the dentition.  Other related structures in the oral cavity such as the jaws and the tissues are also taken care of.

Diseases of the oral cavity have become increasingly popular these days especially with respect to tooth and gum damage. Some of the major treatments under this branch of medicine these days are tooth extraction, tooth restoration, root planning and scaling of teeth, root canal treatment, etc.


The dental profession must have become attractive to you by now. It is regarded as one of the top 10 highest paying jobs in South Africa today. If you are on a quest to becoming one of the dentists in South Africa, we wish you good luck.

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