While dentistry does not deal with immediate life and death situations like the mainstream medicine, preserving oral health is crucial to protect the people’s overall health. Then, is dental marketing morally impermissible because it is selling people’s opportunity for good health? It is important to note that skills and knowledge of dentists are not the only “products” sold from dental offices, and not all products are related to basic healthcare needs. For example, consider teeth whitening services. While whitening teeth may be necessary to better one’s self-esteem and improve one’s social life, it is not a basic healthcare need—whiter teeth does not equal better health; therefore, marketing teeth whitening is business. This paper will discuss two main ideas to understand the business ethics of a healthcare profession: marketing in the dental profession, and dental profession as a hybrid of aesthetic and healthcare services. Is there something inherently wrong with “selling” professional skills and quality of health? Should marketing be allowed in dentistry? Also, should dentists be able to sell aesthetic products in their dental offices that care for general health of the patients as well? Or should there be any separations between general basic healthcare and aesthetic care in the dental offices? I will argue that while dental marketing ought to be allowed with a specific intent to bring patients into the dental practices, there also has to be an obvious prioritization of basic healthcare over aesthetic services within the practice in order to maintain healthy patient-doctor relationship.
Son, Min, "Ethics of Dental Marketing" (2020). Philosophy and Religious Studies Presentations. 1.
Available to all.
Applied Ethics Commons, Dentistry Commons, Marketing Commons
Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 23 – April 30, 2020.