Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Dental Education





First Page


Last Page


Date of Submission

March 2015


This study aimed to better understand how and why people choose dental school faculty members as their oral health care providers. Increasing financial constraints in U.S. dental schools have led their administrators to seek alternative funding sources, one of which can be revenues from dental school faculty practice. To effectively promote faculty practice, it is necessary to understand how and why one chooses a dental school faculty member as his or her oral health care provider. A survey of 1,150 dental school faculty practice patients who recently chose their dentist was conducted, and 221 responded. The information sources these respondents said they used and rated highly were other dentists, friends, family members, clinic website, the Internet, and the insurance directory. Dentist-related attributes that were perceived to be important were quality of care, professional competence of dentist, and explanation of treatment/patient participation in the treatment decision. Dental practice-related attributes perceived to be important were the ability to get appointments at convenient times, reasonable waiting time to get appointments, and attitude/helpfulness of staff. This study found that traditionally popular (family, friends) and newly emerging information sources (the Internet, clinic website, and insurance directory) were both used and perceived to be important by patients of the dental school faculty practice. Dental schools and dentists can use this study’s findings to select appropriate communication channels to promote their practices and to focus on attributes that dental consumers value the most.


Reprinted by permission of Journal of Dental Education, Volume 76, 6 (June 2012). Copyright 2012 by the American Dental Education Association.

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