Have you ever wondered why, in some Provinces, you don’t see any patient testimonials on a Dentist’s website or Marketing literature?
In my humble opinion, as a marketing professional in the dental industry, I feel that many of the Provincial Regulatory Bodies in this profession have extremely archaic rules when it comes to sharing information about the services offered, and qualifications of the dental team.
Although, I can certainly understand how their advertising policies were “likely” created with an intention to protect the pubic, the restrictions placed upon a dental practice when it comes to inferences of superiority, sharing patient testimonials, or continuing education accomplishments (for example) are absolutely ridiculous.
For example, in the Province of Ontario, the RCDSO (Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario) publishes Advertising Standards of Practice  that their members must comply with. As such, an Ontario Dentist cannot publish in their advertisement materials anything that would include:
• statements which are indicative of superiority or uniqueness;
• testimonials or any statement that can only be verified by a person’s personal feelings or views;
• reference to their continuing education, or membership or positions at the College or in societies, associations, academies or similar institutions;
• reference to any degrees or diplomas other than those relating to the degrees or diplomas required for them to obtain a certificate of registration from this College;
• superlative or comparative terms, such as “state of the art, “cutting edge” or any other words or phrases to suggest a higher quality in relation to services, equipment, technology used, or products or persons providing the services.
As a patient, I EXPECT that my dentist would be able to share this information with me as each of these items would definitely be a MAJOR factor in my selection process.
If a dentist has invested heavily in their continuing education, their practice technology and their patients have glowing testimonials, I want to know that! In my mind they would be superior to a practice that only takes the minimum number of CE credits as required by their College, for example.
Or if their office has ‘state of the art’ equipment, I also want to know that. Yes, I understand that quality dentistry can also be provided using traditional methods, but if you’re going to scan my mouth rather than using cold, goopy impression material I deserve to know that.
My expectation would be that the Regulatory bodies monitor the validity of each member’s comments rather than flat out restricting the publication of such.
Furthermore, I would expect that since we live in the age of Google, the public should be able to find this information when they research their health care providers. Unfortunately though, these Standards of Practice limit the availability of some very important information when it comes to making an informed decision.
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