excellent dentists in Berkeley/Oakland/East Bay who don't upsell?
April 19, 2019 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good dentist in the East Bay, one who won't try to push unnecessary things but who also really knows their stuff.

I thought I had found my platonic ideal of a dentist, but then he went and retired, and the folks who bought his practice are raising all kinds of red flags for me, especially in light of this recent discussion. I mean, I've managed to make it for more than four decades without even a single cavity and all of a sudden I need invisalign (to the tune of $4K) or my teeth will all rot out? At the very least I need to get a second opinion. So I'm looking for a good dentist in the East Bay, one who won't try to push unnecessary things but who also really knows their stuff, since my mouth is pretty simple but my husband has what we might charitably call "complicated" teeth. I've checked the archives for previous questions about this, but the most recent one is from 2014. Bonus points for Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville, but I'm willing to travel a bit for someone I can really trust.
posted by pleasant_confusion to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I had a good experience with Dr. Shaya Hamid in Oakland. I can't speak to your husband's needs, but she didn't try to upsell me at all. I went to her after not seeing a dentist for...a very long time, which I was honest about, and she only found one cavity and didn't try to push anything else on me or even suggest anything else, which someone trying to upsell would probably do in that situation.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:02 PM on April 19, 2019

i'm happy with drs honda and ota near downtown berkeley. no upsell in the two decades i've been going.
posted by zippy at 4:10 PM on April 19, 2019

When we lived in North Berkeley our dentist was Dr Seymour Kurtz, on Gilman down toward San Pablo. No upsell, relaxed. At the time (a couple years ago), Dr Kurtz was getting ready to retire and pass the practice to his son, and I can’t say if that has happened and if it has, if that’s changed anything.
posted by notyou at 4:12 PM on April 19, 2019

When I lived in Berkeley I really liked Dr. Hossein Bavafa. The practice was called Elmwood Dental Care, basically at College and Ashby. I liked him so much I went to him for a couple of years even after I moved to SoCal, just tacking a dentist visit on to work trips.
posted by number9dream at 4:21 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to see William Tennant in the building next to Alta Bates. His hygenists were great and friendly and the younger dentist who was just starting a few years ago was also competent and warm.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 4:23 PM on April 19, 2019

Highly recommend Dr. Kami on University Ave. in Berkeley. I am a skittish patient and his staff is highly trained and gentle, and they have all the latest technology (e.g., 3D scan of mouth and in-house crown milling while I waited). He calls patients in the evening to make sure everything is OK (or maybe just to the ones like myself?).
posted by Dogged Persistence at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2019

+1 vote for Dr Kami.
posted by twoplussix at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2019

I recommend Dr. Louie in Walnut Creek. A family practice. The wife is the office person and the son is also a dentist. He is super nice and I really believe that he only does things that will be for the long term benefit of my dental health. I’ve had a dental implant, various crown and fillings and he actually sent me somewhere else for a complicated root canal. I absolutely HATE the dentist but I trust him 1000%. Read his yelp reviews- he is loved by all!
posted by nevertoolate at 8:05 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pacific Dental in Oakland.
posted by Toddles at 9:23 PM on April 19, 2019

I've been seeing Dr. Amy Lee on Solano Ave. in Albany for about 10 years. She's really friendly and mindful of pain and discomfort, and never upsells.

She's been monitoring a problematic root canal tooth since last May. She suspected a root fracture last year but recommended that we wait and see as long as it was asymptomatic. The crown finally worked itself lose this week and the fracture is more visible on the X-ray now. She sat with me and explained my options along with the pros and cons of a bridge vs. implant and why the less expensive bridge might actually be an ok option for me (in my case, she wouldn't have to sacrifice healthy teeth), and re-cemented the crown with the caveat that the tooth would have to come out the next time it starts to come loose. No pressure to make a decision immediately, and she'll give me estimates for both options based on what my insurance will cover.

Her hygienists are really nice too!
posted by kiripin at 9:24 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tala Aziz in Berkeley is excellent and honest. I go to someone in SF now, but Dr. Aziz also has (or at least used to have) Saturday hours, which is another bonus.
posted by pinochiette at 9:30 PM on April 19, 2019

I love Dr. Amy Blake (and her office partner, Daniel Nam -- who does a ton of community work, and works with Remote Area Medical and totally transformed free dental care at the Berkeley Free Clinic, where Dr. Blake volunteered at for years, too, so if a provider's values in terms of community responsibility and care help to recommend someone...!). She's funny and pragmatic, good at avoiding unnecessary procedures, and great at clearly explaining as much as you're interested in knowing. Plus, I don't know why but my appointments are incredibly fast. I think it's probably that they're not juggling a thousand patients at once, but I'm always surprised at how quickly my appointments run, and how un-aggravating they are, which is pretty high praise for a dentist appointment.
posted by tapir-whorf at 10:21 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was just talking to my husband last night about how dearly we love our dentist Dr. Lavorini and his son and daughter, the other Drs Lavorini in the practice, in no small part because we've never gotten the upsell at all, even though my husband's teeth are also decidedly complicated. The practice recently a part of Total Health Dental, which worried me a little, but I haven't noticed any changes except for the (even) better.

Between my spouse Mr. Chalk Teeth and me, Ms. Avoidant Panic Attack Baby, we never expected we'd find a dentist we actually didn't hate going to, let alone one we were downright enthusiastic about, but the Lavorinis are just fabulous.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:25 PM on April 19, 2019

Amy Lee, Amy Lee, Amy Lee. Dr. Lee has an office in Albany toward the top of Solano Avenue. Never an upsell. She was my dentist for perhaps seven years before I moved to Europe. She is gentle, she has good bedside manner, and she is kind. When I needed a new crown and was especially poor, her office worked really hard to give me a manageable payment plan. The person at the front desk has always been super nice to me and every dental hygienist has been pleasant and gentle. They are human, so I am sure they make mistakes but I have recommended her to many people and those who have gone to see her have never complained. Good luck! I’m happy to see that there are so many good dentists in the area.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:31 AM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another recommendation if you're willing to travel to Walnut Creek: Mark Wong, DDS. Absolutely no upselling although you might think they would do that if you just glance at the website.

Both my husband and myself go there for regular cleanings, great team and a new office. We've been going about 2 years or so. The team members clean your teeth and Dr. Wong comes in at the end to inspect/talk with you. Memail me if you need more info. They've been very good about making notes in my file if I have any special requests/needs. It is a bit of a trek for you but you could always do something fun in Walnut Creek if you had some time.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:13 AM on April 20, 2019

Dr Susan Caliri in Berkeley. I went to her after a former dentist suggested a variety of dental procedures for my perfectly healthy teeth, none of which were covered by insurance (hard upsell, when did dentists turn into salesmen?)

My husband & I have both seen Dr Caliri >15 years. She's got great bedside manner, smart, and I trust her completely. Her staff is great, as are all the hygienists.

I can't recommend Dr Caliri enough!
posted by honey badger at 8:53 PM on April 20, 2019

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