I'm a Colleague

The American Dental Association Code of Ethics states that, “the dentist has a duty to refrain from harming the patient.” Dentists are not protected from substance use or mental health disorders by virtue of their specialized knowledge and social status. An advisory opinion to the Code of Ethics states: “It is unethical for a dentist to practice while abusing controlled substances, alcohol or other chemical agents which impair the ability to practice. All dentists have an ethical obligation to urge chemically impaired colleagues to seek treatment. Dentists with first-hand knowledge that a colleague is practicing dentistry when so impaired have an ethical responsibility to report such evidence” to the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Furthermore, there is a legal responsibility to report under Oregon law.

For more information on this subject, visit the American Dental Association website >>

If you have any questions regarding a colleague suffering from impairment, you can get anonymous help by contacting the Oregon Dental Health and Wellness Committee at 503-550-0190.

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