Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Dentistry
Regulations Governing the Practice of Dentistry [18 VAC 60 ‑ 21]
Action Amendment to restriction on advertising dental specialties
Comment Period Ends 9/5/2018
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8/27/18  9:30 am
Commenter: Russell Mullen, DDS MS


I strongly oppose the proposed amendment to restriction on advertising dental specialties.

I write today as a dentist, but also as a husband, a father, a brother, and a citizen of the state of Virginia. When I welcome a new patient into my office, I do a thorough clinical exam, then collect necessary radiographs, etc in order to come up with a treatment plan to address the problems I see with a patient’s teeth. When doing this, there is almost never only one single, best plan for addressing the patient’s problems. I make sure to sit with the patient and present all viable treatment options to them, discussing the risks, benefits, and alternatives for each is. This informed consent is an essential part of the decision making process for a patient, and withholding information from someone would violate their personal autonomy, and would be a violation of professional ethics. I feel that allowing a practitioner who has not had adequate training to advertise to the public as being a ‘specialist’ is a violation of the patient’s personal autonomy - it is misleading and doesn’t allow a layperson to be fully informed about the doctor who is treating him.

Giving patients less information is seldom in their best interest, and I hope that the Board of Dentistry will continue to do an outstanding job of protecting the health and well-being of the citizens of Virginia by not eliminating the regulations about who can advertise as a specialist.