News & Politics

How We Find the Region’s Top Dentists

We polled area dentists and asked: Who would you trust with your own family’s teeth? Here are their choices for Washington’s top general dentists, periodontists, orthodontists, and more.

How did we put together this list of the area’s top dentists? The way you might find a dentist: word of mouth. But we asked a lot of people—and we turned to experts.

We mailed surveys to 2,400 dentists in DC, Maryland, and Virginia and asked them to name the general dentists and specialists to whom they would send a member of their own family. We received 700 completed surveys.

The dentists who received the most recommendations from their peers are listed here. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are the top vote getters in each specialty.

Just because a dentist is not listed does not mean he or she is not good. How do good dentists get left off?

Dentists know one another through referral networks—a pediatric dentist may refer to a handful of orthodontists, and vice versa. Sometimes a dentist is too new to have established a referral network, is practicing in an out-of-the-way location, or does not refer often, meaning other dentists are not familiar with his or her work. Dentists also make referrals to colleagues they like, people with whom they may play golf. Dentists who are not active in local dental circles are less well known.

To counter this, we did our own research, asking experts about good but overlooked dentists who are not part of the established network.

Although dentists on this list come highly recommended, that’s no guarantee someone will be right for you. Dentists can judge a colleague’s skill but, unless they get feedback from patients, do not always know if the dentist has a good chairside manner, if the office staff is pleasant and efficient, and if prices are reasonable.

It’s best to use this list as one tool. You might also ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers for names of dentists they like.

Click on the following lists according to specialty:

Top Oral Surgeons: These surgeons are trained in operating on the mouth, jaws, and face, including tooth extraction, reconstruction of fractured jaws, and implants.

Top Pediatric Dentists:
Treat children and teens.

Top General Dentists:
Specialize in general dentistry.

Top Endodontists:
Specialize in root canals.

Top Orthodontists:
Specialize in straightening teeth.

Top Periodontists: Concentrate on gum work and implants.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.