Need a good dentist? Finding a highly skilled one can be a challenge.

Top Dentists

A survey of area dentists reveals who they think are the tops in every specialty from orthodontics to pediatric dentistry to oral surgery and more.

To compile this list, the company surveyed dentists in Fairfield County who are listed with the American Dental Association, asking each one “If you had a patient in need of a dentist, to which dentist would you refer them?”

All dentists and specialists were also asked to evaluate peers, with consideration given to years of experience, professional background, continuing education, patient manner and accomplishments. Those surveyed could also nominate dentists for consideration and were asked to set aside personal or political bias and base their decisions only on knowledge of a colleague’s work. Final selections were made after careful vetting of credentials with state dental boards.

“Of course, there are many fine dentists who are not included in this representative list,” says managing partner Mark Barkley of 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 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.”

Meet 164 top dentists—in seven specialties—in Fairfield County.

 

 


Donald Joseph CaseDonald Joseph Case

Specialty: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Practice: Dr. Donald J. Case and Dr. Clifford C. Evans, Stamford
Dental School: University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Years in Practice: 35

Why did you choose your specialty?
While in dental school, my interests were more medical and surgical than filling-and-drilling. With oral surgery I have one foot in medicine and one foot in dentistry.

Why did you choose Stamford?
I grew up here, plus in 1976 Stamford had two guys who had been here already for thirty years who were exodontists, meaning they basically pulled teeth. They didn’t do maxillofacial surgery, which I was trained to do.

What advice do you wish patients would take seriously?
With oral cancer I say, “You ought to stop smoking.” Do they listen? No.

Tell me about your most compelling case.
I don’t take as many emergency calls as I used to, but one of the worst I saw recently was a guy in his early twenties who had been parasailing in Mexico and was trying to land on the beach but crashed. [They] shipped him back here and he had multiple fractures of the jaw, bone was protruding through oral tissue, and he lost four or five teeth. Getting the bone back where it should have been was a feat. We needed to use wires and pins. It required four surgeries, which was the most I’ve ever done on one case. But essentially he did speak and eat normally again. His teeth were replaced, and he just had a few facial scars that the plastic surgeons took care of.

Are people safer than they once were?
Yes, there’s been a big reduction in injuries because of mouth guards. People are also are wearing helmets when they are biking. It was not like that before.


Anastasia "Stacy" ZarakiotisAnastasia “Stacy” Zarakiotis

Specialty: Pediatric Dentistry
Practice: Greenwich Pediatric Dental Group
Dental School: New York University College of Dentistry
Years in Practice: 12

Why did you become a dentist?
[As a child] I got cavities that required ten fillings. My dentist was super-cool. He used to wear jeans and was so relaxed and comfortable. He inspired me to make [going to the dentist] a positive experience for kids. I love asking kids about what they’re doing.

What symptoms do patients ignore most?
A lot of kids are getting cavities from drinking milk at night before bed without brushing their teeth. And carbohydrates mixed with breast milk can also cause cavities. Medicine also has sugar, which can cause cavities too, as can gummy things and juice.

What advice do you wish patients would take seriously?
Come in to see me at [age] one, and not three or four. This is to guide [parents] what to look out for, instead of trying to backtrack after the kids get cavities.

What question do patients most often ask?

Parents ask about whether there is too much fluoride in the water, and [conversely] if they should be using fluoride supplements. They ask about how much they should be using it.

Tell us about your most compelling case.
One kid came in who was autistic and he needed a cavity filled. I did with him what I normally do with other children: I gave him a tour of the office, had him count his teeth and sit in the chair. We gave him a mirror so he could watch what we were doing, and used nicknames for our tools like Mr. Thirsty for the straw. It took me two visits to work on that patient. But the third time, he opened his mouth and let me work on his back tooth as if he were an adult.


Adam Jonathan FreemanAdam Jonathan Freeman

Specialty: General Dentistry and Forensic Dentistry
Practice: Westport Dental Associates
Dental School: Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Years in Practice: 23

Why did you become a dentist?
My dad is one, so I grew up around it. I explored other areas in college and was in business for a while. I even ran for state political office. But I came back to dentistry, and joined my dad’s practice in 1988. Among other things, I wanted to work in a field that would allow me to spend time with my family.

Why did you choose your specialty?
I like all areas of dentistry. I’m a general dentist during the day and then I go home and do several hours of forensic work. I prefer a little bit of everything.

I really enjoy forensic dentistry, or dentistry as it applies to the law. We do identification of victims of a crime or mass disaster. I ran the dental operation at the morgue [for the Department of Homeland Security] during Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. I’ve also testified for murder trials. What really got me interested in [forensic work] was 9/11. I realized there was a need for people who knew what they were doing.

What innovation has changed treatment in your specialty?
Digital X-rays reduce the amount of radiation to patients many-fold. I also have a digital camera that can take impressions in three dimensions [which eliminates the need] to put that rubber in your mouth that makes some people gag.

What question do patients most often ask?
We get a lot of questions about dental implants to restore teeth. In this country part of the perception of beauty is having good teeth. Even Jewel fixed her snaggle tooth.

What is the biggest myth in dental care and what is the truth?
That it’s going to hurt. Most people leave here and say, “That was really pretty simple.”


Robert B. GoldmanRobert B. Goldman

Specialty: Orthodontics
Practice: Robert B. Goldman Orthodontics, Stamford
Dental School: Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
Years in Practice: 30

Why did you choose your specialty?
We get to work with children and adults. The advantage of having straight teeth is that they tend to function better and are easier to clean. A side benefit is they look better.

We can influence the direction and amount of bone growth in children with dentofacial orthopedics to guide and expand the jaws. It can lessen the need for braces. But I won’t be out of business anytime soon. Wisdom teeth still need to come out.

What symptoms do patients ignore most?
Clicking in the jaws, or tenderness, even ear pain.

What advice do you wish patients would take seriously?
Cleaning. It’s all [kids] need to know. We can show them how they are not brushing well, and how to brush better.

What innovation has changed treatment in your specialty?
Clear liners made by Invisalign and others, inside braces made by Incognito, which have been around since the 1980s but are now
thinner and computer-generated, which means they can be totally custom-made.

What question do patients most often ask?
“Can you do this with a retainer instead?” And the answer is usually no.

What is the biggest myth in dental care and what is the truth?
That teeth will stay where we put them. People think that they are done after the braces come off. Our bodies change as we get older, and teeth move. So I suggest indefinite retainers. 


Eman J. TraynorEman J. Traynor

Specialty: Periodontics
Practice: Traynor Periodontics and Implants, Greenwich
Dental School: Washington University in St. Louis School of Dental Medicine
Years in Practice: 20

Why did you become a dentist?
I’m very detail-oriented and like to work with my hands, so I knew I would end up being a surgeon. And both of my parents are physicians.

Why did you choose your specialty?
When there is bone loss, we can grow back the bone. When there is recession, we can graft and grow back the tissue that was lost. And if we can’t do either, we can place implants. It’s a specialty that really helps people.

What advice do you wish patients would take seriously?
Preventative medicine is the best thing. Gum disease doesn’t hurt, so we can’t catch it if we’re not doing exams, which should happen twice a year.

What innovation has changed treatment in your specialty?
Research that has connected gum disease to heart disease. I think the media is really helping get the message across that it’s all about
the body’s response to inflammation. People who don’t floss are 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

What question do patients most often ask?
“How did this happen?” Periodontal disease is age-related, usually after the age of thirty-five. Genetics also play a part. Smoking makes it occur three times faster.

What is the biggest myth in dental care and what is the truth?
People think that if it’s not hurting, there’s no problem, but periodontal disease is a silent disease. Pain is not an indicator, but treatment can be comfortable. Procedures are better than they used to be, and we can also use sedation to help relax the patient.


Maryann LehmannMaryann Lehmann

Specialty: General Dentistry
Practice: Maryann Lehmann DDS, Darien
Dental School: University of Illinois College of Dentistry
Years in Practice: 24

Why did you choose your specialty?
I like to reconstruct things by putting in a crown or a bridge or a filling. I am also a person who enjoys interacting with people. With other specialties, you aren’t building long-term relationships. I see myself as the quarterback of [family] care.

What symptoms do patients ignore most?
There are two big things: gum health, because it doesn’t hurt, and broken teeth or cavities. If you wait until a dental problem hurts, it can become a huge problem.

What innovation has changed treatment in your specialty?
I devised software called Shade Analyzer that breaks down the color into the nitty-gritty of the red, green and blue of the tooth. I use it for replacement of crowns or other teeth. I also use it to measure how much teeth have whitened. It’s now licensed to be used by different products like Crystaleye, which I use in my office.

What question do patients most often ask?
They all want to know if over-the-counter whiteners really work. I tell them, “Yes, they all work, but it is a highly personal, case-by-case situation, so it’s up to a dentist to determine what’s best for you.” A mistake people make is that they don’t realize it’s an ongoing thing. It’s like lightening your hair.

Tell us about your most compelling case.
A forty-year-old man who needed six crowns, thirteen fillings and two root canals! When I finished, he looked in the mirror and smiled. It was like a whole different face. He got a date after that, and was engaged within six months. He sent me flowers after, and I even got invited to his wedding. He still sends me Christmas cards.

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