SURVEY: Should Senior Dental Discounts be Banned? (Click) - Actually dentists are allowed to advertise senior discounts now, but banned from sponsoring 'Seniors Days'. This is a reversal of their former position that frowned on preferred rates.
Alberta Dental Association Problems?
17 STUPID ALBERTA DENTIST LAWS
In the news- LINK
1) Using Before & After Photographs of dental treatment on their websites is illegal. That's correct- your dentist can't show photos of his/her treatment results.
2) Using actual patient testimonials is banned by the ADA&C. There are loads of online rating programs, but legitimate comments from actual patients are not allowed on a dentist's website or marketing materials.
3) Mentioning their actual additional training after dental school and areas of interest are not allowed on websites/marketing materials if the Alberta Dental Association & College advertising investigators get on a dentist's case- the dental specialist lobby has made it necessary for general dentists to be very limited in their discussions of treatment skills which overlap certain specialists (especially orthodontists and prosthodontists). 'General Dentist' must be tattooed on every piece of marketing material if the doctor is not a registered specialist...EXCEPT the office signage, which for some dumb reason is excluded.
4) Using terms like 'state-of-the-art', 'dental wellness', 'dental spa' or 'expert' will get an Alberta dentist in hot water.
5) Use of the term 'cosmetic dentist' (which may simply imply an interest in aesthetic dental care and not a specialty) is a big no-no...a dentist can lose his/her license and be fined tens of thousands for using this common term.
6) Advertising limited-time discounts is illegal for Alberta dentists (sorry, no sales for you).
7) Using coupons, free whitening or any advertisement with a dotted line around it which would suggest cutting it out of the newspaper and can get a dentist into a disciplinary hearing even if he/she agrees to withdraw the advertisement.
8) Mentioning Reader's Choice Awards or Awards in Dental School on an Alberta dentist's website is banned because it implies superiority. On the other hand the dental profession keeps giving out awards of their own to people they like.
9) Mentioning any employment in at a Dental School is unacceptable behaviour for Alberta dentists.
10) Guess what Grandma...Offering Senior Discounts to Albertans is banned by the ADA&C-if it is associated with a time-limited offer.
11) Mentioning previous Military Experience & Rank can get an Alberta dentist in the stockade.
12) Mentioning positions on Charity Boards has also been frowned on by the authorities at the ADA&C.
13) Offering Smile Makeover Contests will leave a dentist in Alberta frowning after being disciplined by the ADA&C ('smile makeover' is also a banned term).
14) Advertising FREE CONSULTATIONS is also violation of the Alberta Dentist Rules.
15) Several dentists have even been disciplined for offering CHARITABLE Dental programs
16) Alberta dentists are NOT ALLOWED to use the name of their city in their practice name or website (even though a few current board members may be doing this)
17) One of the weirdest Alberta Dentist Laws is even using the word 'Affordable' has been banned (from dentist advertising)...if that just doesn't sum up the problem with the people involved in restricting Alberta dentist competition than nothing will convince you!
Alberta isn't the only province with dumb dentist laws- take BC for example, where they passed a law where dentists could not treat their spouses (supposedly it was overturned as quick as it was put in).
The Honourable Sarah Hoffman Alberta Health Minister, Dr. David Swann MLA and Drew Barnes MLA have all been extremely helpful in listening to the concerns exposed on this website.
A growing number of dentists are concerned that the Alberta Dental Association & College is stepping across the line with the over-regulation of competition among dentists. This has a direct reflection on dentist fees and access to care.
Edmonton Journal- Dental Association pretends nothing is wrong??? -LINK
Global News - 'Allow more competition...' -LINK
CBC News "Price Controls Not the Answer" - LINK
"Fees jump 56%..." - link
"Calgary Dentist Fees Compared" - LINK
Too little and too much fluoride in the water can be a problem - Link
Alberta Dental Association prints anti-marketing position (No price incentives for Alberta dental patients)
In the January 2016 ADA&C Updater publication (page3) president Dr. Tobin Doty reiterated the general anti-competitive position of the dental profession with the following statements:
"We are constantly lured to purchase, by use of clever ads such as: buy-one-get-one-free, deep discounts, flashy sales signs and coupons, along with easy return policies and money-back guarantees. The question that comes to mind is: Do we as dentists want a similar environment promoting our dental services and products?"
A former ADA&C council member and other experienced dentists are now risking their licenses speaking out about the problems at the Alberta Dental Association & College. They have notified the Alberta Health Minister, Dr. David Swann MLA and the Competition Bureau. The Alberta Dental Association & College so far is ignoring pleas to review these self-imposed regulations that punish dentists for simply doing what dentists can legally do in other provinces/states across North America. At the same time, many of the ADA&C board members have been caught breaking their own advertising rules and not punished.
The new Alberta Health Minister announced she is interested in investigating possible conflicts of interest at the Alberta Dental Association & College and seems to be ready to take this seriously (link to news). It is also appreciated that Drew Barnes MLA is also listening to concerns about the ADA&C's negative effect on dentist competition- promises to bring them to the Health Minister.
What is the Dental 'College' in the Alberta Dental Association & College?
If you are confused, you are not the only one. The 'college' could be referred to as the 'dental board' (the term used in the USA) and is not really a dental school as the name suggests. Many of the people employed there have never attended dental college and have been appointed into positions that require specialized training which seems to be lacking. The most obvious concern is about the choice of ADA&C Complaints Director - the person who reviews complaints from the public about their dentist and decides whether or not something went wrong and whether the dentist should be punished for professional misconduct leading to loss of his/her license - she is a lawyer without a dental degree and no clinical work experience in the dental profession.
What Happens When You have a Complaint About a Dentist?
You may wonder why dentistry is so expensive, or why complaints about a dentist to the association often only seem to make money for the dental association lawyers and consultants. Patients rarely get the financial compensation they want when the Alberta Dental Association gets involved.
Conflict of Interest?
Many dentists are extremely concerned about the conjoined 'dental association & so-called college' and have brought attention to certain issues with the policy makers such as Liberal leader Dr. David Swann and the media. After the election these same concerns were brought to the new Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman as mentioned.
The free market increases the competitiveness of dental professionals which can lead to more alternatives for the public relating to convenience, pricing and payment plans.
The dental association may be exploited by 'The Old Boys Club' and certain dental professionals that attempt to reduce the advertising activities of their colleagues - interference with payment plans, reduced fees and convenience-based alternatives should not be policed by the dental authorities. The dental association needs to be aware that certain special interest groups may strategically working to use their influence on the complaints department investigations. This, in many general dentists' and even dental specialists' opinions is wrong.
The public needs to look beyond the headlines and consider the root cause of the restrictions on dentist competition. The inner core at the top of the dental association who are often called the 'Old Boys Club' seem to be attempting to control dentists beyond what the government had intended. Finally there is hope for change but first everyone needs to know how bad things have been allowed to become.
FOR QUESTIONS FROM THE MEDIA CONTACT:
Dr. Larry Stanleigh, Calgary PH 403-228-3783
Dr. Michael Zuk, general dentist Red Deer at 403-347-8008.
© 2014 | Alberta Dental Association Problems - for discussion purposes only