Want to hear some news that will make you feel good about being a dentist? Recently, the Bureau of Labor released a list of the 20 top-paying careers. General dentists came in at number 12. Some specialists (orthodontists and oral surgeons) were higher, some were lower. Except for corporate CEOs at number nine, every job in the top 12 was health-care-related.

Surgeons and anesthesiologists led the way in this survey, but here's an important point: that's only when you're talking about averages. If you were to take the top 25 percent of dentists, you would find that they are outpacing their medical counterparts by a significant margin.

Why? Because, as I have often said, dentistry has virtually unlimited value-based possibilities and an unbeatable business model – a combination that even most surgeons don't enjoy. If you are serious about getting the most from what this profession has to offer, you really can write your own ticket. It's just a matter of choosing the level you want.

Clinical excellence is the key. For those dentists that are leading the way, it's not about doing more, it's about getting more from what they do. Deeper diagnoses, more comprehensive treatment plans, more effective case presentations, more patients saying yes to ideal care. It all adds up to ... just about whatever you want it to add up to.

What would make your life ideal? Would another $100,000 have an impact? It's not as far off as you might think: it's just one $10,000 case a month, less 20 percent for supplies and lab, and that's not out of the question for any dentist who wants to achieve it. So what's stopping you? When it comes to having passion for what you do, and having that passion support an ideal economic return, dentistry is one of those rare professions where you really can have it all.