Top Dentists 2009
Looking for a dentist? Whether you need a dentist for routine appointments or for more specialized procedures, this list can make a recommendation. Who’s doing the recommending? The dentists themselves, who voted for their colleagues in a survey that resulted in this list of 210 Hawaii dentists, in seven specialties.
This list is compiled and provided by topDentists (trademark 2008 by topDentists, Augusta, Ga.), a database of dental professionals who have been selected as “tops” by a vote of their peers.
The complete database is available at www.usatopdentists.com,
or visit HONOLULU Magazine’s Top Dentists database.
In conducting its survey, topDentists approached dentists listed with the American Dental Association, and the Hawaii Dental Association, and asked, “If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?”
Dentists and specialists are asked to take into consideration years of experience, continuing education, manner with patients, use of new techniques and technologies and, of course, physical results.
Dentists are also given the opportunity to nominate other dentists who they feel should be included in the list. Respondents are asked to put aside any personal bias or political motivations and to use only their knowledge of their peers’ work when evaluating the other nominees.
After topDentists finalizes its list, it then checks the names against state dental boards for disciplinary actions and to confirm that the listed dentists have active licenses, in good standing.
Don’t see your current dentist on the list? Don’t be alarmed. “There are many fine dentists who are not included in this representative list,” says topDentists. “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 list may at times disproportionately reward visibility or popularity, we remain confident that our polling methodology largely corrects for any biases and that this list continues to represent the most reliable, accurate and useful list of dentists available anywhere.”
To which we can only add—don’t forget to floss. After all, good dental health starts with the dentist you see in the mirror.
Mary W. M. Kim
In 1979, at the age of 27, Mary W. M. Kim became the first female orthodontist in Hawaii, and the only one for several years.
“It was a little intimidating. I was an oddity,” says the Hong Kong native. She would get a lot of stares attending local orthodontists’ meetings. “Some welcomed me, but a lot told me to ‘go home and have children.’ I told them I already had some.”
After graduating from Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago in 1975, Kim taught there for a year before enrolling in the orthodontics program. She came to Hawaii in 1978 and opened her first practice on King Street the following year.
One of her two sons, Gerald Kim, also on the topDentist list, is an orthodontist as well, the youngest person to become one in the state, at age 22. In 2000, the two formed Kim Orthodontics and are the only mother-and-son team in Hawaii. “It takes a certain personality to work with family,” says Kim. “[But] we listen to and respect each other so it has been very good.”
Mary Kim was also the first local dentist to own a digital x-ray imaging system and one of the first, in 1989, to use an Invisalign treatment for straightening teeth without visible metal braces. “We use the latest technology, but we don’t experiment on patients.”
Go to the next page, to read more great dentist profiles.
As you read this, Norman Chun is approximately a month into his second tour of duty in Baghdad with the Army National Guard’s 29th Support Battalion. While on deployment, this Hawaii pediatric dentist provides dental care not only to the battalion’s soldiers but also several Department of Defense officials.
“There are a shortage of dentists in Iraq so I’m helping our soldiers,” says Chun, who’s been practicing in Kailua for 22 years. If his commanding officer permits, Chun will also go on humanitarian missions to rural Iraqi cities and provide care to local civilians in need.
“Going [to Iraq] really puts life in a different perspective. We are so lucky here and take things for granted,” says Chun. “We grumble about [whether to do] rail or not, when most people in Iraq don’t even have a car and are just trying to make it by.”
Chun’s brothers, Mitchell and Mark, will take Norman’s patients while he’s deployed; they share the same practice their late father, also a dentist, established 60 years ago. Volunteering for the National Guard runs in the family along with dentistry. Mark, a retired colonel, was also deployed as a dentist to Iraq.
Although he enjoys his overseas work, Chun looks forward to returning to his family and his practice. “I love it, it’s enjoyable work.”
General and Cosmetic Dentist
It’s not uncommon for some of Keri Do’s patients to cry and hug her for the work she’s done on their mouths. Do is a volunteer dentist for Give Back a Smile, a national program started in 1999 by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry to provide free dental work and restoration to survivors of domestic abuse.
“It makes a huge difference in somebody’s life to replace a patient’s missing front teeth, some who have been that way for years, but have no way of replacing them,” said Do, who is one of 10 Hawaii dentists who volunteer with the program. “My goal is to help them integrate back into society and give them great smiles.”
In between working on her cosmetic dentistry accreditation, Do provides free work to qualified patients and sits on one of the five Give Back a Smile committees that appropriates funds and approves cases. Do hopes to see more dentists get involved. “I think a lot [of dentists] don’t know about the program. We especially need help on the Neighbor Islands.”
Hawaii currently has 32 domestic-abuse survivors, most of them women, on a list—the national programs’ longest—waiting to receive tooth replacements and other dental work. Since its inception, Give Back a Smile has donated $237,317 worth of work. “This program changes a patient’s life.”