Sit down in a dentist's chair and it might be a dental assistant who's now molding your teeth, placing rubber dams, or putting in temporary fillings.
"Those were not things a dental assistant did 30 years ago," said Lori Paschall, president of the American Dental Assistants Association.
Also driving wages: the emergence of chain dental offices, which tend to hire more dental assistants, said Paschall. And a desire by the general public to go to the dentist more often -- what Paschall called a "higher dental IQ."
Source: CNN analysis of 45 professions in the Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics Note: *Numbers are not inflation adjusted. Overall inflation from 1983-2012 was 131% Some professions with high wage inflation, such as chief executives and personal financial advisers, were not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1983, and are excluded from this list.