By Dr. Richard Wolfert, DMD 

The Toothboss, 

That’s not yours truly saying that. It’s taken from a Gallup poll on ethics ratings in professions since 2019, the last “normal” year before the pandemic.

Dentists placed in the top three of professions held in high ethical regard at 61% in 2019. Four years later, that number dipped ever so slightly to 59% in 2023. Meanwhile numbers 1 and 2 – nurses and engineers – dropped 6 and 7 percentage points during the same period.

There are many reasons for dentists being ranked so high to begin with and not losing much traction during a very difficult period for patients and people in our field. Here some pretty solid reasons why dentists still rank in the top five:

Personal interaction and care. Many people have regular, ongoing interactions with their dentists. So, you’re building a personal relationship and a sense of trust over time. Plus, dentists and hygienists – especially at our practice – often take the time to explain procedures and answer questions. This increases patients’ comfort and trust, something particularly important to seniors.

Professionalism and expertise. Dentistry is a highly skilled profession that requires extensive education and training. This expertise is visible to patients, who often see the immediate results of dental work, whether it’s relief from pain or an improved smile.

Regulation and standards. The dental profession is well-regulated, with strict standards for education, licensure, and practice. This regulation helps ensure a high level of care and professionalism in the field. This can also increase public trust.

Health and wellness emphasis. Dentists not only address immediate dental issues but also focus on preventive care and overall oral health. As we’ve talked about over the past several months, your oral health is very closely related to your overall health. This holistic approach to health can build trust.

Transparency and ethics. Dental practices often strive for transparency in terms of procedures, risks, benefits, and costs. Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a strong code of ethics that its members are expected to follow, promoting ethical behavior in the profession.

Tangible and immediate results. A trip to the dentist often provides immediate and visible results. Whether it’s a filling, a tooth extraction, or cosmetic dentistry, patients can directly experience the benefits of their dentist’s work.

Ironically, one of the biggest reasons people hold dentists in such high regard is fear. The vulnerability many people feel regarding dental procedures can also lead to greater trust. When a dentist is able to provide care in a way that is gentle, reassuring, and effective, it can significantly enhance the level of trust a patient feels.

When you combine all these variables, it’s understandable why dentists rank so rank highly in terms of trust among the many professions in the United States. And if you’re not feeling that with your dentist, please feel free to give us a call.

About the Author: Dr. Richard Wolfert, DMD is the owner of The Toothboss, 1121 Main St., South Weymouth. For more information, call 781-335-0604 or visit