2011 Top Dentists: Methodology

For this year’s list of Top Dentists, New Jersey Monthly commissioned an independent survey of the state’s dentists by Leflein Associates Inc., a Ringwood-based research firm.

Here’s how the survey was conducted: On December 1, 2010, a one-page questionnaire was mailed to all 6,444 New Jersey-based dentists who have been licensed in the state for at least five years (but less than 50 years). The mailing list, which is used by the Board of Dentistry for licensing purposes, was obtained from the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs. Respondents could either return the original paper questionnaire or complete the questionnaire online. Web survey participants were required to enter their dental license number to avoid duplication. Each printed ballot had a unique code number to further protect against duplication.

In the end, a total of 1,649 valid, non-duplicated responses were received (811 by mail and 838 online) for a response rate of 26 percent. That’s a significant increase over last year’s response rate of 18 percent.

Once all the eligible ballots were tallied, dentists with sufficient votes were placed on a preliminary list. A handful of dentists then were excluded because of prior, significant disciplinary actions. Next, the preliminary list was submitted for professional review by a panel of 15 dentists. The dentists on the panel were chosen from among the top vote getters in last year’s survey.

Following the review process, the final list of 323 Top Dentists was determined, representing nine dental specialties. In most cases, a minimum of 15 votes was required to make the final list. The threshold was lower in certain specialties and regions of the state with fewer practitioners.

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