I’d thought I’d seen it all.
Advertising by dentists has been controversial since it started to become popular in the 1980’s. Many local dental societies considered it to be an ethic violation if a dentist ran an ad in a newspaper, on the radio, or on TV. Now that it seems commonplace, I’ve noticed a couple different categories of dental advertisements:
An ad which promotes oral health and discusses the dentist and staff in a professional manner.
An ad which cheapens dentistry into a commodity. Examples include coupons, hype-language, and using sales gimmicks.
Anything that violates the ADA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. An example would be claiming the dentist to be the best at a procedure.
I was walking around my town the other day and I was absolutely blown away by a new kind of dental ad. I’d like to add an additional category:
You actually feel bad for the dentist for being so desperate.
Want to see it? Here it is in all of it’s glory:
What. The. Hell.
The dentist actually drives around like this? It looks like a pizza delivery car! I’m actually at a loss for words to describe how sad this is. And what message does this convey to patients? When we take on advertising gimmicks used by products, we degrade our services into those products. Diagnosing a treating dental disease is NOT like ordering a pizza. But that’s exactly what an advertisement like this is making people think.