The survey for the first edition of Best Dentists began with a nomination pool consisting of dentists recommended by the members of several major dental associations and department chairmen at leading dental schools, as well as dentists nominated in turn by those nominees.
All of the nominated dentists were sent ballots and asked to vote on the nomination pool. Except in California and New York, dentists were asked to vote on all of the nominees in their states, regardless of specialty, provided only that they were familiar with the nominee’s work. Voting dentists were also given an opportunity to offer more detailed comments on nominees so the company could more accurately compare and weigh voting patterns. In all, more than 125,000 individual votes were cast in compiling the 2004–2005 edition.
Voters were provided with only the following general guideline for determining if a nominee should be listed among “the best”: “If you had a close friend or relative who needed a general dentist (for example), and you could not care for them yourself, to whom would you refer them?” All votes and comments were solicited with a guarantee of confidentiality.