WBNS-10TV, ThisWeek Community Newspapers and Columbus Parent Magazine conducted the "Dentists Rate Dentists" mail survey in May 2008.
Using a database obtained from the Ohio State Dental Board, the news organizations sent a questionnaire to 1,144 dentists — every licensed dentist in Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties.
The survey posed a single question: "If you or a family member needed treatment in the following dental specialties, which central Ohio health-care professionals would you seek out or recommend?"
The dentists were asked to list one dentist in each of eight practice areas: general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics and cosmetic dentistry.
The "cosmetic dentistry" category was accompanied by this explanation: "As you know, neither the Ohio State Dental Board nor the American Dental Association recognizes 'cosmetic' or 'aesthetic' dentistry as a distinct specialty. For the purposes of this survey, the category refers to appearance-enhancing treatments such as bonding, teeth whitening and dental veneers."
One hundred ninety-five dentists filled out and returned detachable, postage-paid ballots, a response rate of 17 percent.
Like all polls, the "Dentists Rate Dentists" survey is subject to possible errors, including data-entry mistakes. It also can be affected by nonresponse bias, in which responses don't necessarily reflect the views of those who didn't respond..
The data work was done by Victor Black of The Columbus Dispatch and Wayne Jones, John Garman and Lakshmi Yarlagadda of the Dispatch Information Services department. Gary Dilley oversaw the mailing of the survey.
The poll was designed, conducted and financed solely by WBNS-10TV, ThisWeek Community Newspapers and Columbus Parent Magazine. The inclusion of a dentist in the "Dentists Rate Dentists" rankings does not constitute an endorsement by those news organizations.