New Ethics Hotline for Dentists

Think fast: what would you do if…

… your office policy is to tell all patients that their amalgam fillings are breaking down and need crowns?

… your office manager wants you to treatment plan differently?

… your owner-dentist is forcing you to use a dental lab that you think is terrible?


Dentists will face countless ethical dilemmas over the course of their careers.  Recent graduates working for other dentists are in a particularly odd position since they may feel that they don’t have as much control in how they practice.  Traditionally there were two avenues to pursue:

(1) The American Dental Association has a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct that helps guide us through these murky waters.  The only minor problem is that our specific situation may not have a clear resolution after reading the code.

(2) We can always call our local dental society for some specific personal guidance.  But perhaps we’d prefer to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue.

So how can dentists get specific guidance on our dilemmas but still be able to keep the information private?  Enter the brand new ADA Ethics Hotline.

hotlineIf you find yourself in a difficult spot call 1-800-621-8099 and ask to be connected to the Ethics Hotline.  You’ll be able to leave your information in a confidential voicemail that will quickly be processed by trained staff.  This will then be turned over to a dentist who is an expert in ethics.  The ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws, and Judicial Affairs has 17 dental leaders from around the country who volunteer their time to protect our profession from unethical conduct.  You’ll get a personal call in 2-3 days from one of these dentists to help solve your problem.  Amazing!

A few additional points.  First, if your issue is time sensitive, the ADA staff will do their best to get you a faster turn around time.  Second, remember that this service is unable to give you legal advice.  The team will interpret the ethics code for your specific situation and help point you in the right direction, but they can’t advise you on certain legal matters.  Third, this is a service for ADA members only.  If you’re a dentist practicing in the U.S. and you’re not a member, then this is yet another priceless member benefit you’re missing.

There are so many wonderful dentists out there who practice in a responsible and ethical manner.  But some owners get a little confused about some of the finer points of running a practice.  And yes, there is the very small group of dentists who do not practice responsibly.  The ADA is here to help you sort it all out.  Help spread the word about this amazing service!

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