|Action||Amendment to restriction on advertising dental specialties|
|Comment Period||Ends 9/5/2018|
I was troubled to hear that the Board is considering amending the provisions for the advertising of dental specialties, creating the ability for non-specialists who limit their practice to providing specialized care to advertise as specialists and to not require them to disclose that they are, in fact, general dentists. As a pediatric dentist this troubles me because I know firsthand the differences between the two. I was a general dentist for 14 years. Nearly half of my patient base was pediatric because I just loved taking care of kids. In 2003 I decided to specialize in pediatric dentistry. After attending a residency program for two years and practicing as a pediatric dentist for 13 years I know now what I did not know as a general dentist. My care is much more thorough, comprehensive, and thoughtful due to my education and experience. The difference between what I knew as a general dentist and what I know now is vast.
The way that the public views the differences between general dentists and specialists needs to be protected. Our industry is increasingly being viewed as a commodity. I venture that most of the general public does not understand the vast differences in knowledge and ability that can exist between general dentists and specialists. Blurring the lines between the two has the potential to greatly harm our patients by creating the perception of a level playing field. It would also create the illusion that the additional education that specialists receive is unnecessary and meaningless.
Unscrupulous practitioners already exist in our industry. False advertising and claims abound as practitioners scramble to grab their piece of the pie. This proposed change has the potential to open the floodgates to not only unscrupulous practitioners but also to well-meaning practitioners who just don’t have the knowledge base and experience to call themselves specialists.
As a practicing dentist my only concern is for the patients we serve. I implore the Board to fully appreciate the potential harm this change may inflict on the unknowing public.