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RULE §108.57False, Misleading or Deceptive Advertising

(a) A dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully. Professionals have a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people. The dentist's primary obligations include respecting the position of trust inherent in the dentist-patient relationship, communicating truthfully and without deception, and maintaining intellectual integrity. In order to properly serve the public, dentists should represent themselves in a manner that contributes to the esteem of the profession. Dentists shall not misrepresent their training and competence in any way that would be false or misleading in any material respect. Dentists shall not advertise or solicit patients in any form of communication in a manner that is false, misleading, deceptive, or not readily subject to verification.

(b) Published Communications. A dental health article, message or newsletter published in print or electronic media under a dentist's byline to the public must make truthful disclosure of the source and authorship of the publication. If compensation was made for the published communication, a disclosure that the communication is a paid advertisement shall be made. If the published communication fails to make truthful disclosure of the source, authorship and if compensation was made, that the communication is a paid advertisement, the dentist is engaged in making a false or misleading representation to the public in a material respect. If the published communication is designed to give rise to questionable expectations for the purpose of inducing the public to utilize the services of the sponsoring dentist, the dentist is engaged in making a false or misleading representation to the public in a material respect.

(c) Examples. In addition to the plain and ordinary meaning of the provision set forth throughout these guidelines, additional examples of advertisements that may be false, misleading, deceptive, or not readily subject to verification include but are not limited to:

  (1) making a material misrepresentation of fact or omitting a fact necessary to make a statement as a whole not materially misleading;

  (2) intimidating or exerting undue pressure or undue influence over a prospective patient;

  (3) appealing to an individual's anxiety in an excessive or unfair way;

  (4) claiming to provide or perform dental work without pain or discomfort to the patient;

  (5) implying or suggesting superiority of materials or performance of professional services;

  (6) comparing a health care professional's services with another health care professional's services unless the comparison can be factually substantiated;

  (7) communicating an implication, prediction or suggestion of any guarantee of future satisfaction or success of a dental service or otherwise creating unjustified expectations concerning the potential result of dental treatment. The communication of a guarantee to return a fee if the patient is not satisfied with the treatment rendered is not considered false, misleading deceptive or not readily subject to verification under this rule;

  (8) containing a testimonial from a person who is not a patient of record or that includes false, misleading or deceptive statements, or which is not readily subject to verification, or which fails to include disclosures or warnings as to the identity and credentials of the person making the testimonial;

  (9) referring to benefits or other attributes of dental procedures or products that involve significant risks without including realistic assessments of the safety and efficacy of those procedures or products;

  (10) causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the credentials, education, or licensing of a health care professional;

  (11) representing in the use of a professional name a title or professional identification that is expressly or commonly reserved to or used by another profession or professional;

  (12) failing to make truthful disclosure of the source and authorship of any message published under a dentist's byline;

  (13) communicating an implication or suggestion that a service is free or discounted when the fee is built in to a companion procedure provided to the patient and charged to the patient; and

  (14) communicating statistical data, representations, or other information that is not subject to reasonable verification by the public.

(d) Photographs or other representations may be used in advertising of actual patients of record of the licensee. Written patient consent must be obtained prior to the communication of facts, data, or information which may identify the patient. The advertising must include language stating "Actual results may vary."

(e) Advertising or promotion of products from which the dentist receives a direct remuneration or incentive is prohibited unless the dentist fully and clearly discloses that he is a paid spokesman for the product, or the dentist fully and clearly discloses that he is the inventor or manufacturer of the product.

(f) Any and all advertisements are presumed to have been approved by the licensee named therein.

Source Note: The provisions of this §108.57 adopted to be effective May 1, 2013, 37 TexReg 9637

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