How to Choose a Great Dentist: Look for Credentials and Awards

Let’s get one thing out on the table: everyone wants a really, really good dentist. However, I know that dental credentials can be confusing. Here are some tips for evaluating your dentist’s credentials.

  • Every dentist has either a DDS or a DMD degree. If you would like to know about a dentist’s degree and license status, do a Google search for your state dental board (for example, “Missouri Dental Board”). You are also entitled to call your state board to ask if the dentist has a current license in good standing and whether the dentist’s license has ever been disciplined by the dental board due to a patient complaint.


  • Look for a mention of any CODA-approved residencies. Approximately 20% of dentists receive advanced training beyond dental school in post-graduate residency programs approved by the Council on Dental Accreditation (CODA).


  • Look for membership in dental organizations that require advance training or peer nomination by other dentists. For example, the American Equilibration Society requires a minimum level of post-graduate training in treating bite and jaw problems as well as nomination by a peer dentist, and less than 1% of dentists are invited to join. As another example, to be a member of the American College of Dentists or the International College of Dentists, a dentist must be nominated by other dentists based on a history of ethical practice, leadership, and service in the profession. Less than 2% of dentists are invited to join these organizations.


  •  Awards: Any awards given by state or national dental associations, or by a dental school, indicate a high level of respect for and achievement by that dentist.


If you have more questions about selecting a great provider, whether in the Kansas City area or elsewhere, I would be honored to assist you personally. I know many, many dentists around the world because of my membership and leadership in several dental organizations, and I would be happy to make a personal referral.

Please don’t hesitate to call me at (816) 587-6444 or email me at

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