open mouthIn the December 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) a reader asks:

A patient came to our office with a complaint of dental pain. He had not been to the office for two years for any type of examination or treatment.

The patient brought along a form from his employer. He requested that I sign the form after I performed the examination. The form stated that the patient had received a preventive dental examination.

Signing this form would allow the patient to receive more insurance coverage at lower cost from his employer for preventive care. What should I do?

You may be surprised by the answer (ADA Members have access to the complete online archive of JADA including the regular ethical moment column.)

Facing a thorny ethical issue yourself? The ADA ethics hotline is an easy, confidential way for ADA members to get some advice on next steps when navigating an ethical dilemma.

The hotline doesn’t provide legal guidance. Instead it provides a fresh perspective through a consultation with a member of the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs (CEBJA.)

To access this ADA member benefit, call the toll-free number on your ADA member card and request the ethics hotline. After confirming your membership, you’ll be transferred to a voicemail system and asked to provide some information about your issue.

You’ll receive a personal telephone call from a member of CEBJA. This dentist will then discuss the application of the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct to your situation. The goal is for you to receive a response within two or three days. However, if you request a rapid response, volunteers and staff will work to accommodate your request.

And you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.