YES, different dentists are different, it is human nature to be different.
The level of knowledge, skill and dedication to excellence a dentist has makes a big difference in:
- the longevity of the dental work
- experiencing problems during dental treatment
- experiencing problems as a result of dental treatment
If you are looking for the best dentist learn how you can better judge a dentist's knowledge, skill and dedication to excellence.
Do you think all dentists are equal in their knowledge?
Most people mistakenly believe that all dentists are the same in what they know. Without realizing it, most people compare a dentist’s knowledge to their own knowledge and conclude that the dentist in front of them is very knowledgable. A patient judging a dentist’s knowledge is not helpful in finding the best dentist as all dentists will appear the same.
Only a dentist can effectively judge another dentist’s knowledge. Of course! That is why dental students are taught and tested by dentists! Also, a non-dentist with extensive knowledge and experience in the dental field can tell the difference in the knowledge of different dentists.
The truth is that the passing grade in dental school is 60%. There are dentists that barely pass with a 60% average and there are dentists that graduate at the top of their class with 90%+ averages. That means that upon graduation the best new dentist knows 50% more than the dentist that just passed. Patients do not know enough about dentists and dentistry to be able to tell which dentist is which.
If you are looking for the best dentist look for a dentist that graduated with honours from their dental program. If you find a dentist that graduated at the top of their class ( “gold medalist”), which is an extremely rare, hang onto them and never let go!
Do you think all dental schools are created equal?
Google “dental school rankings” and you will find that not all dental schools around the world are created equal. Some dental schools are harder to get into than others, some do a better job training dentists than others. If you are looking for the best dentist look for a dentist that graduated from one of the top 25 dental programs in the world:
- of the 10 dental schools in Canada: only 2 rank in the top 25 in the world:
- University of British Columbia
- University of Toronto
- of the 66 dental schools in United States: 13 rank in the top 25 in the world: University of Michigan Ann-Arbor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, Harvard University, University of California (Los Angeles), University of California (San Francisco), University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida, University of Buffalo, University of Southern California, New York University, University of Pittsburg, University of Alabama
- the other 10 dental schools in the top 25 in the world are from the following countries: England (4 schools), Brazil(1), Belgium(1), Switzerland(1), Japan(1), Sweeden(1), Finland(1)
If you are looking for the best dentist choose a dentist that has been trained in a first world country: Canada, United States and Western Europe and then check if the dentist you are considering graduated from one of the top 25 dental schools in the world.
It is mind boggling that some patients who live in a first world country go to third world countries and underdeveloped nations where the standard of living and the standard of healthcare is much lower, thinking that the dental care they receive is equivalent to that of a first world country.
Do you think all dentists are equally skilled?
Generally speaking most patients judge the skill of a dentist based on their experiences during and after their treatment. Hence a “painless dentist” is considered to be the best dentist. Certainly the best dentist is able to provide painless dental work. However, unless you know a lot about dentists and dentistry you are not able to judge the technical skills of the dental work. Great technical skills are critical to the longevity of the dental work and minimizing the problems you may encounter as a result of the dental work.
In dental school, dental students’ technical skills are assessed by other dentists, not the patient! There is good reason for this: almost all patients do not have the knowledge or skills required for judging a dental students knowledge or technical skills. In dental school, a patient’s opinion is not taken into consideration when marking a student!
So, if you are looking for the best dentist, accept the fact that you know too little about dentists to pick the best dentist. To effectively pick the best dentist either learn more about the dental field or rely on the objective assessments by other dentists:
Signs of the Best Dentist Based on Technical Skills:
- a dentist that graduated with honours from their dental program; most of the courses in 3rd and 4th year dental school are clinical, to graduate with honours not only the student’s knowledge must be top notch, but also the technical skills must be top notch
- a dentist that graduated from one of the top schools (see above)
- look for a dentist with at least 5 years experience; experience is the mother of all skill; it has been shown that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated and deliberate practice to master a skill
Finding an experienced dentist who graduated with honours from one of the best dental schools goes a long way to finding the best dentist. Equally important, a dentist’s dedication to excellence is a key factor in finding the best dentist.
Signs of the Best Dentist Based on Dedication to Excellence:
- check online reviews of the dentist and the dental office they work in
- check if the dentist is a member ( and check the achievement level) in dental organizations which focus on excellence in dental care:
- Academy of General Dentistry
- American Academy of Implant Dentistry
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
- International Congress of Oral Implantologists
- American Board of Oral Implantologists
- a dentist that teaches other dentists
All dentists are required to continue their education throughout their career, however some do just the minimum and others go beyond the minimum. The best dentist greatly exceeds the minimum required in the amount of continuing education that he/ she takes. The best dentist undergoes voluntary testing by other dentists to ensure that their ongoing learning is assimilated optimally.
In the best interest of your health and well-being,
Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak