Over the last generation, pay for some professions has risen much faster than the overall rate of inflation.
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."