Best Dentists in Hawaii 2010
HONOLULU Magazine helps you find the dentist you need, whether for a routine checkup or more specialized work, by presenting this list of 234 top dentists in the Islands. They come highly recommended—by other dentists who know their work best.
This list is excerpted from the 2010 topDentists™ list, a database that includes listings of more than 200 dentists and specialists in Hawaii. To determine who should be on the list, topDentists asked thousands of dentists, “If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?” Dentists and specialists were asked to take into consideration years of experience, continuing education, manner with patients, use of new techniques and technologies and, of course, physical results. The nomination pool consisted of all dentists listed online with the American Dental Association (ada.org), as well as with their local dental societies. Dentists were also given the opportunity to nominate other dentists who they felt should be included. Respondents were asked to put aside any personal biases and to use only their knowledge of their peers’ work when evaluating the other nominees.
Voters were asked to evaluate the practitioners on their ballots with whose work they were familiar. Once the balloting was completed, the scores were compiled and averaged. Borderline cases are given careful consideration by the topDentist editors. Voting characteristics and comments are taken into consideration. Past awards a dentist has received, status in various dental academies (Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Periodontology, etc.) were also factors.
Once the decisions were finalized, the dentists were checked against state dental boards for disciplinary actions and to make sure they had active licenses and were in good standing with the board.
Don’t be concerned if you don’t see your favorite dentist on the list. As topDentists notes, “There are many fine dentists who are not included in this representative list. It is intended as a sampling of the great body of talent in the field of dentistry in the United States. A dentist’s inclusion on our list is based on the subjective judgments of his or her fellow dentists. While it is true that the lists may at times disproportionately reward visibility or popularity, we remain confident that our polling methodology largely corrects for any biases and that these lists continue to represent the most reliable, accurate and useful list of dentists available anywhere.”
For more information call 706-364-0853 or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.usatopdentists.com. topDentists has used its best efforts in assembling the material for this list but does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Copyright 2010 by topDentists. All rights reserved. This list, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without permission of topDentists. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission.
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Dr. Brian Kim established his philanthropic roots while deployed in Afghanistan as a dental officer in the Army. “We did medical missions in the villages and did a lot of dental work on the Afghan people,” he says. After getting out of the military, Kim set up his own general dentistry practice in 2007. “I wanted to be in the medical field working with a lot of people and wanted to work back in Hawaii,” he says, adding that he grew up here and that he’s the first and only dentist in his family.
After his experiences in Afghanistan, Kim wanted to continue doing charity work on Oahu. He teamed up with Dental Samaritans, a statewide nonprofit affiliated with the Hawaii Dental Association. “It’s a group of dentists that is committed to providing care to people who normally wouldn’t have access to care in Hawaii,” says Kim. He also sits on the nonprofit’s board.
One of Dental Samaritans’ most successful programs is Give Kids a Smile Day. “We go to elementary schools in rural areas and we do screenings and dental checkups, and we pass out toothpaste and toothbrushes,” he says. The event is conducted nationwide through the American Dental Association.
Kim has also helped organize Hawaii Head Start services and dental booths at the Honolulu Zoo and Kapiolani Medical Center, and has sponsored golf tournaments. “It’s very exciting because increasingly we see a lot of young dentists looking to get involved with the community … and with this organization we can channel it to the people who need it.”
“It may sound so cliché, but I love working with kids,” laughs Dr. Emily Bordner. “I wanted to be in a position where I could help keep them healthy and also be like an educator and teach them how to take care of their teeth.”
Bordner graduated from dental school in 1999 and has run her own pediatric practice in the Manoa Marketplace since 2005. “Because we are a relatively new practice, we attracted a lot of new moms, so initially the majority of our practice was 3 [years old] and under. Now we see the full range and we typically see kids until they are 18.”
Bordner and her staff use creativity to get younger patients excited about taking care of their teeth. “We like to talk about sugar bugs and they feel like they’re brushing away the sugar bugs,” she says. Her staff also makes tooth charts for their patients and the children get stickers each time they brush and floss. Patients are also given hourglass timers to take home to make sure they brush for the appropriate amount of time.
She not only teaches children how to brush their teeth, but involves their parents as well. Her office is unique in that parents are allowed in the patient area with their children. Bordner also discusses timelines for adolescent and adult tooth growth and sugary and sticky foods to avoid. “We foster a comfortable environment here that allows the kids to enjoy coming in and taking care of their teeth,” she says.
As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. George Wessberg has witnessed tremendous technological advances in his field in the decades since he began his practice in 1981. “When I was in training there were surgeons who used a chisel and hammer to break teeth into pieces to take them out,” he says. “Now, we don’t have to put people to sleep because the techniques are better, the drills are better and the local anesthesia is better. Patients have a much better experience.”
Wessberg and his staff of 11 run an office-based practice and he conducts anywhere from two to eight surgeries a day, including dental implants, wisdom-teeth removal, jaw-bone grafting and biopsies of oral tumors to test for cancer. “We try to make things a lot less painful and more pleasant,” he adds.
Although Wessberg used to only take patients who were referred by general dentists, he has started taking walk-ins. The change has made it easier on patients who need procedures done on a timely basis, and has increased Wessberg’s business. His staff has a flexible schedule that allows them to care for patients with or without appointments. Since 2002, the office hasn’t charged for dental care for military dependents, and has recently started waiving fees for patients who have been laid off, as well as DOE teachers and their families.
“I wouldn’t trade it for any job in the world,” says Wessberg. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to go to work every day and not love the people you’re working with.”