One in Five Dentists Has Dated a Dental Patient

Post your comments about dental practice romance to our blog.

Dentists and Dating Dental PatientsIn a recent Wealthy Dentist survey, we asked dentists if they have ever been
romantically involved with a patient at their dental practice. One in five dentists reports having dated a patient. The remaining 80% do not date their dental patients.

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts on romance in the dental office.

Urban, suburban and rural dentists



Urban dentists were over twice as likely as their rural and suburban colleagues to have been romantically involved with a patient.


Male dentists compared to female dentists



Male dentists were more likely than female dentists to date patients.


General dentists versus specialists



General dentists and dental specialists had fairly similar standpoints on
the issue.


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

Dating patients is a good way to lose patients…

  • “I believe that it is not good for the practice. You will definitely lose a
    patient if the relationship does not work out.” (California dental office worker)
  • Foolish. The old saying is “you don’t s*** where you eat.” (Mississippi
  • “The patient generally leaves the practice after the break-up.” (Alaska dentist)
  • “Dating patients doesn’t work unless you marry them. After you have dated a patient, and it doesn’t work out, you lose the patient and a good source of referrals. My advice: No matter how right it seems, don’t date a patient.
    (Florida dentist)

It’s simply not professional.

  • “I think that crosses the professional barrier and can cause problems down the road.” (Florida dentist)
  • “I think it is not wise and also unethical… If a relationship starts, the patient should be referred for treatment to another practice as legal ramifications are extreme.” (California dentist)
  • “It is wrong according to Hippocrates’s oath.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Unfortunately, love happens, but it could be detrimental to the image of your colleagues if your affair makes the evening news.” (Missouri dentist)

In some situations, dating a patient may be acceptable.

  • “As long as the patient is not under active care, no problem.” (general dentist)
  • “If both parties are single, and the professional can remain professional at the time the patient is in the office, it might be able to work. Break-ups can be problematic on many levels.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Depends on the circumstances. This is not as personal as psychology or a medical situation.” (Texas dentist)

To some, it’s totally unacceptable. Period.

  • “I’m in the military – it would be a career ender to become involved with patients.” (Georgia dentist)
  • Intolerable.” (South Korea dentist)
  • “Totally inappropriate.” (Pennsylvania dental hygienist)
  • NEVER!!” (Tennessee dentist)

It just doesn’t seem like a good idea…

  • “It is discouraged in our practice.” (Oregon dentist)
  • “It isn’t a good thing for the practice. If it’s something that’s unavoidable then the employee must never be involved in the treatment.” (Florida dentist)
  • “It’s just not worth the headache.” (California dentist)
  • “Very, very dicey. If you date her, you better marry her. Conflict of interests.” (California dentist)
  • “I became romantically involved with some patients when I was single, young and foolish.” (California implantologist)
  • “That seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen!” (California dentist)

What about staff members dating patients?

  • “No one on the staff should date a patient. It may cause problems later if the relationship doesn’t end well.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “The only thing worse than that would be an affair with a staff member. Business and personal relationships must be kept separate.” (New York dentist)
  • “If a team member dates a patient and they keep it professional, it is okay. But a dentist should not date patients.” (Massachusetts dentist)

It’s worked out very well for some dentists.

  • “I married one 51 years ago and am still married to her.” (New York dentist)
  • “I am the dentist; my hygienist fixed us up at the time. That was twelve years ago, and we have been together ever since. The best twelve years of my life.” (Nevada dentist)
  • “She’s beautiful, brilliant, tall and blonde. I would never have asked her out. She asked me out. She’s now my business partner – and my
    wife. Life is good.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “Conventional wisdom says it should be avoided, but I don’t often listen! I ended up marrying a patient.” (Rhode Island dentist)

The thing is, sometimes romantic chemistry just happens

  • “It happens.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “Not an issue that I should care about if it does not affect my work.” (California dentist)
  • “I believe it’s okay. There can be chemistry that takes place between a man and a lady irrespective of the patient/doctor thing.” (Africa dental student)

One dentist’s experiences…

  • “I was a dentist for years prior to my marriage. When I was single, I’d ask patients for a date or they would ask me; it was never an issue. I
    probably went out with at least a dozen or so. (Except for the time when three girlfriends were in my waiting room at the same time.) Some women were very aggressive when approaching me for a date. One told me, ‘Hey, dentists are a dime a dozen, but new boyfriends don’t
    grow on trees.’ I was asked out by several married women and politely turned them all down. Today, after fifteen years of marriage, I still treat many of my former girlfriends, their children and also their husbands.” (New Jersey

What’s a married dentist to do?

  • “It is OK as long as my wife is out of town!” (general dentist)

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