Talking Top Dentists

Frequently asked questions about the Top Dentists selection process

How do you choose the winning dentists?

Madison Magazine does not pick the Top Dentists; Madison-area dentists do. We contacted dentists at 170 local dental clinics and practices and asked them to participate in our online survey. These dentists—and any dentists who contacted us about the survey—were given a username, password and link to a secure website where they voted for their peers in the field of general dentistry and nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

The survey was open for a two-week period in May, and then the results were tallied. Dentists who garnered ten percent or more of the votes in a category earned the designation as Top Dentist in that area of specialty.

Are surveys like this popularity contests?

In a way they are. While we can’t control how anyone votes, we trust that the dentists who participate give thoughtful recommendations—as if they were giving a referral to a patient, family member or friend. We hope our readers use the results as one of many useful tools in choosing a dental professional that’s right for them or their family.

Do dentists have to advertise in the magazine to be winners?

Absolutely not. Top Dentists is an editorial project independent of the magazine’s advertising department. Dentists who choose to advertise in the magazine have no bearing on who ranks on the Top Dentists list; the winners are chosen only by their peers.

Why isn’t my dentist on the list?

There are many talented professionals in Madison who don’t make our list. While our Top Dentists vary from year to year, some enjoy strong name recognition or have been working in Madison longer than others and may rank more often. Additionally, some specialty areas employ a larger pool of dentists, and it can be more difficult for such dentists to receive more than ten percent of the votes in a category, our threshold for determining the winners.

How do you know the winning dentists are good?

Ultimately the patient-consumer will be the judge. For our part, we ask survey participants to vote for dentists they would also recommend to their friends, family and loved ones. Magazine staff fact-check each dentist to make sure their names, clinics and practices, and contact information is correct. Furthermore, we run each winning dentist’s name through the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing to ensure every dentist holds a valid license.

For additional questions about the Top Dentists survey, please contact Madison Magazine editor Brennan Nardi at

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