Is it ethical to date a patient?

By | March 10, 2014

ETHICS rubricPrinciple 2 of the ADA Code of Ethics relates to nonmaleficience – that is, do no harm.  Section 2G specifically states that dentists should avoid interpersonal relationships that could impair their professional judgment or risk the possibility of exploiting the confidence placed in them by a patient.

So, while the Code does not specifically state that dating a patient is unethical, it does raise some questions to consider.

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 ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

3 thoughts on “Is it ethical to date a patient?

  1. Larry Picard DDS

    I have never had this happen in my office, but I would think it would be quite awkward if the patient and staff member didn’t work out and the patient still came to the office for their regular check-ups.

  2. Brad J.Kane DDS

    Read your blog and I just don’t feel right if someone in our office dated a patient that they met there. It could get awkward down the line.

  3. Dan

    I just dismissed as patient from my practice who asked me out on a date out of the blue quite persistently. No idea where it came from. Performed an RCT redo. That’s what brought me here. It’s a bad idea


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