For a 2016 graduate, the average dental school debt totaled $261,149, according to the American Dental Education Association.

The burden of debt didn’t stand in the way of the profession being ranked at the top spot in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report’s annual list ranking the best jobs of the year, according to ADANews.

Heck, those dental school loans might even seem paltry compared to what the highest courts have decided a dentist in Taiwan must repay to the bank of Mom.

According to the New York Times:

“The case attracted considerable attention because the mother and son had put down in a written contract — signed when he was 20 — what is often left unsaid, particularly in a heavily Confucian-influenced society that emphasizes filial piety. The principle is backed up by law in Taiwan, where adults are legally prohibited from abandoning their parents.

Each side advanced arguments: The mother urged the court to enforce the contract. The son maintained that he had already paid his mother $1 million and should not have to pay her more.”

Read the full story:

Even when considering that in the U.S. “between missed earnings, student debt principal, and interest, a dental school graduate can count on sinking about $570,000 into dental school,” according to, dentists can still make back their investment in eight years.

Most importantly, the burden of dental school debt does not seem to hinder happiness, according to a survey by Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine in which 63% of pollsters described their demeanor as “very happy.”

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Incisal Edge magazine survey of dentists, 2014:

Guess it’s all about perspective.
How did those dentists surveyed become so satisfied? Not sure, but it can’t hurt to investigate: