Dating Coworkers: One in 5 Dentists Has Done It

Post your comments about dental practice romance to our blog.


Wrongful Discharge: Dental Survey Results

In this survey, we asked dentists if they have ever become romantically involved with a coworker at their dental practice (other
than their spouse). One in five dentists admits to dating a colleague or employee. Most caution against mixing business with pleasure, but a few happy
marriages have been born in the dental office.

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

Male versus Female Dental Practitioners

Gender played a distinct role in a dentist’s experience with office romance.


One in four male dentists admits to becoming involved with a coworker, while only one in ten female dentists says the same thing.

Urban, suburban and rural dentists

Rural dentists were the most conservative when it came to dating members of their staff, while suburban dentists were most likely to become involved with team members.

General dentists versus specialists

Specialists and general dentists had relatively similar experiences with dental practice romance.

USA map


In the map at left, the redder states reported higher levels of office romance.


For more insight, check out these comments!

It’s Bad for Business

  • “Do you know how to ruin a good employee? Become romantically involved with her or him.” (Orthodontist)
  • “It is a sure way to complicate your life. Economically devastating also. I have seen the consequences with many of my colleagues.” (Pediatric dentist)
  • “A very bad idea in the workplace.” (Endodontist)
  • “Romance among coworkers makes the workplace a very uncomfortable and unsafe place for other coworkers. The work environment is not the place to find romance.” (Oregon dentist)

Notes from Those Who Have Gone There

  • “Stupid.” (Periodontist)
  • “I won’t ever do it again. It cost me my marriage!” (Florida orthodontist)

Don’t… Just Don’t

  • “Don’t fish off the company pier.” (California dentist)
  • “Don’t mix business with pleasure.” (New York pediatric dentist)
  • “Buy dirt with your money and don’t f*** the help.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Never get involved with someone who has less to lose.” (Maine dentist)

A Dose of Realism

  • “It happens, because of working in close proximity, but it should be handled in an appropriate, professional manner.” (Oregon dentist)
  • “I’m neutral. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Most of the time it’s best to keep that kind of stuff out of the office.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Sounds like fun, but in the long run a bad idea.” (Colorado dentist)

It Hurts People

  • “Sometimes dentists are stupid and they end up ruining their and others’ lives.” (General dentist)
  • “Very, very wrong, and harmful to many people, if either are married.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “The best way to demoralize the rest of the staff, and a great way to open the door for sexual harassment if it doesn’t work out.” (New York dentist)

Some Are Optimistic

  • “I dated my patient coordinator for a year, and we have now been married three years. She was my best employee and I was afraid if it didn’t work out I would loose her, but it was the best decision that I have ever made. There is more to life than dentistry!” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “I think it can work!” (Ohio pediatric dentist)

It Clouded My Judgment

  • “While it was quite passionate and enjoyable, it clouded my judgment on some important office dynamics. It almost cost me my office in that it killed morale. Thanks to a great staff, they stuck with me. It can be categorized as yet another lesson on the path called
    life.” (Illinois dentist)

It Happened More in the Old Days

  • “It happened more in the old days. I’ve been in practice for 37 years. During the 70’s and 80’s it was quite common for office affairs to take place.
    Nowadays the penalties make it more difficult, although I’m sure things still go on between doctors and employees. My best experience occurred when my receptionist of 2 years put the moves on me. She was 20 years younger than I was. We were married and have 2 great children. She broke my
    heart, but it was a great ride while it lasted.” (Florida dentist)

One Dentist’s Long Saga

  • “Fourteen years ago I fell in love with my hygienist during a midlife crisis in my marriage. As a result my marriage ended in divorce. Three years later the hygienist broke off the relationship due to guilt. I was devastated but slowly recovered. The emotional damage to my children and ex-wife was significant. Some aspects of my relationship with my children are permanently damaged. For those who are tempted in this regard, I would say. ‘DON’T DO IT!’ The temptation can be extremely powerful, but the result will be harmful to everyone involved! I turned my back on God and family and am responsible for the consequences.” (Texas dentist)

Conflict of Interest

  • “Dentists are busy people and don’t have a lot of spare time to meet new people. Romance with an employee is a betrayal of trust, a blurring of boundaries. It is unethical to have a relationship with patients, and should also be with staff. There becomes a conflict of interest in a larger
    workplace when this relationship affects the way the staff member performs their job, ie favors which dentist gets the new patients.” (Sydney, Australia dentist)

A Semi-Optimistic Tale

  • “At a time in my life, when it felt like I needed a sympathetic ear, I found my dental assistant to be loving and caring. A relationship developed.
    I knew my marriage was over anyway, and I found myself caring more for my assistant. Two years later we married, and I am hoping
    to get it right the second time around. My feeling is this: If the relationship is consensual, and the two colleagues can separate business from
    personal, try to make a go of it. I feel more people should be open minded about certain things. My personal life, if kept private from the day to day
    operations of the office, is my own business.” (New York dentist)

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