One Out of Three Dentists’ Marketing Efforts Frustrated by Dental Boards

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Dental Board Marketing Survey Results

In this survey, we asked dentists if they feel that state dental boards unfairly restrict dental practice marketing. Two out of three dentists said no – dental boards are just protecting the public’s best interest. But one out of three dentists was frustrated by the limitations dental boards put on advertising and other dental marketing efforts.

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts.



General dentists versus specialists




General dentists were far more likely than specialists to be frustrated by how state dental boards restrict dental marketing. Competition for new patients is often stiffer among general practitioners. 


Urban, suburban and rural dentists




Geographic location was distinctly correlated with attitudes about dental boards and marketing. More urban dentists were more likely to approve of dental boards, while rural dentists crave more marketing freedom.


General dentists versus specialists




Gender did play a role in dentists' attitudes about dental boards. Male dentists were over twice as likely as their female colleagues to voice frustration at marketing restrictions.



For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments!

Marketing restrictions may be restraint of trade

  • Dental boards are restricted from prohibiting advertising because it would be considered restraint of trade.” (Prosthodontist)
  • "In California the board has NO restrictions as to what a dentist can say in their advertising because of FTC fair trade legislation. Hence a dentist can advertised 'advanced' or 'excellent' in their marquee. What unfair Dental Board regulation!?!?” (California dentist)

We need boards to keep things under control

  • "Advertising is getting out of hand. LVI has been a strong proponent of advertising that makes laudatory statements that are illegal in Florida. Most advertising I see is highly unprofessional.” (General dentist)
  • “Concentrate on excellent dentistry and not an unethical ad war.” (North Dakota dentist)
  • “I am from the old school. Curtail marketing.” (Mississippi dentist)
  • “Each state board is different. However, as a whole, I believe restrictions in most states are at a reasonable level.” (North Dakota dentist)
  • “Most do a great job.” (Louisiana oral surgeon)

Specialists are feeling threatened by general dentists

  • “GP's should stop pretending to be specialists.” (Missouri oral surgeon)
  • “I believe that the state boards do too little to enforce the statutes in place, let alone regulate the claims made by practitioners that are at least misleading and/or overstate capabilities. In our locale, for example, there are numerous GP's that list themselves under 'Prosthodontists' in the Yellow Pages. These infractions go on and on year after year. The local dental societies do not police their constituencies as was once the case. Today, hard earned credentials mean little in the eyes of the public. It's practice marketing and not skill and experience that establishes visibility. This is wrong and in many cases injurious to the public who we are supposed to be serving. Dentistry is supposed to be about healthcare not selling of commodities.” (Florida prosthodontist)
  • “Best dentists lists are bad for the profession, and any smart consumer knows a fee was paid for that. Too many 'specialist wannabes' out there.” (Florida dentist)

Dental boards need to take a stronger stance

  • “If they had the guts, they would stop the charlatans.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “They don't do enough to restrict false and misleading advertising.” (California dentist)
  • “The Boards are not tough enough.” (Florida dentist)

It's about the public's best interest

  • "Reasonable restrictions must be enforced in order to protect the vulnerable public.” (South Carolina dentist)
  • “No, it would be chaos without some standards as one dentist tries to 'one up' another.” (Periodontist)
  • “We must not become used car and/or furniture sales people. We are what we are and misrepresenting words only makes us sound and look worse in the eyes of the public. This short term gain will result in long term loss of respect. Advertise the truth, and only the truth, and all will be good.” (Colorado prosthodontist)

Marketing restrictions seem so old-fashioned…

  • “Our board is mostly made up of small minds from small towns who would like to return to the 19th century.” (Missouri dentist)
  • “Our state dental board is stuck in the 70s!” (Texas dentist)
  • “If the marketing is not false we should not be restricted to advertise our products.” (California dentist)

Professional advertising is totally different from product advertising

  • “While advertising is important to make the public aware of who and where you are, the marketing mode used by consumer oriented production is to convince the consumer of a product's superiority. Its goal is to advance the profits of the corporation. On the other hand, a professional endeavor must not purport the superiority of the individual dentist, but only of the benefit of the service to society. Without regulation, dental advertising will quickly degenerate into consumer advertising and not professional advertising." (New Jersey orthodontist)

One dentist's horror story

  • “I have been personally sanctioned by the State Dental Board, fined $5,000, mandated to take continuing education courses that were so arcane they had to be created by the dental school to accommodate the Board's decision, and had my name listed with all the other publically referenced 'Bad' dentists for an 'advertising incident' where I did nothing wrong, but was convicted by the Board who took a drug-seeking patient's word over mine, and refused to let my staff corroborate my testimony. I must accept total responsibility for letting this happen in the first place; you see, I went to the board hearing alone, without an attorney and that was my biggest mistake. I will never, ever again go before a dental board, no matter what they tell me in advance, without legal representation, NEVER.” (Virginia dentist)

Dental boards may be self-serving

  • “Unfortunately the dental boards are created in such a manner that empowers them to be judge, jury and executioner. The laws they mandate and enforce cause me to believe the 'due process' part of our constitution was forgotten in their creation. I believe that those who are on dental boards (in general) do not have thriving practices that prevent them from making decisions that affect those who do.” (Washington dentist)

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