Sexual boundaries in dental practice: Part 1.

G. T. Chiodo, Susan Tolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Sexual contact between doctors and patients is unethical, legally perilous, cause for professional discipline at times, and often viewed as an outrageous transgression by the public. While it is true that some provider-patient couples go on to get married and "live happily ever after," this is not always the case. However, if these relationships fail, a now embittered ex-paramour is empowered with the options of bringing legal and/or disciplinary action against the doctor and may be motivated by the distinct possibility of significant financial reward. Patients place enormous trust and respect in their health care providers. In addition, patients reveal sensitive, confidential information to doctors and do so with the expectation that it will be used only for their best interests. This dynamic creates a substantial power imbalance between doctors and patients and this power differential must never be exploited. Dentists who find themselves romantically attracted to patients must either avoid initiating a more intimate relationship or refer the patient to another provider. Dentists who are the recipients of romantic inquiries by patients should establish clear boundaries. If the dentist is available and interested in the patient, dating may occur only after the patient has been reassigned to another dentist and a suitable time period has elapsed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-459
Number of pages4
JournalGeneral Dentistry
Volume47
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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