Can dentists treat their family members?

It has no provision similar to those in the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics, so there is no specific prohibition on a dentist treating family members. Dentists should carefully consider the particular circumstances that arise before deciding to treat a close friend, family member, or employee. A common question patients may have is whether their dentists also treat their own family and friends. The real ethical concern with regard to doctors and dentists who treat loved ones revolves around professional objectivity.

Ideally, dentists should refrain from providing medical care to family and friends. It can be difficult for dental caregivers to make professional decisions about the people they care about, and it's best to ask loved ones to be treated with another dentist—it could even be a colleague. The other problem with treating family and friends is that you worry when you release them into the community when you retire. Your dentist should wash their hands and put on a new pair of gloves before seeing each patient.

For 30 years, the company has been a leading authority on human resources and personnel issues, helping dentists successfully deal with complex and changing labor laws. I would have preferred that my family members had gone with colleagues in the two offices I worked at before I retired, but in the end, neither of them did, mainly because going from one side of the city where I live to the other is like having a dentist voluntarily clean a treatment tray, it's tortuous and very difficult. In other words, a dentist can't tell your husband: “If you don't paint the kitchen, I won't give you surface anesthesia. A particular irritation I had when treating a member of my wife's family is that I was always late for appointments.

Although there are no restrictions on treating family members, the GDC does state: “You must maintain appropriate boundaries in your relationships with patients. The College has kept dental hygienists informed of the status of the regulations that are currently in the hands of the government and has made it very clear that treating a spouse is not allowed unless the regulations are approved. Make sure that the dentist you choose is not only experienced and qualified, but also has a flawless dental practice. Delaying treatment for a dental problem that may not bother you much at the time, can lead to significant oral health problems, such as loss of a tooth, an increased risk of heart disease that can occur as a result of advanced gum disease, etc.

Personally, I have never met a dentist, therapist or hygienist who did not treat their partners or family members and many on Twitter also openly admitted that they treated family and friends.

Norma Dickhaus
Norma Dickhaus

Lifelong food evangelist. Amateur food maven. Award-winning explorer. Extreme internet buff. Certified twitter scholar.

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