§ 33.203. Advertising.
(a) Advertising is permitted to provide the public with a sufficient basis for making an informed selection of a dentist. For purposes of this section, the term advertising includes signs, letterheads, business cards, and printed or broadcast announcements of services to the public.
(b) Advertising that is false, misleading or deceptive is prohibited under section 4.1(a)(10) of the act (63 P. S. § 123.1(a)(10)). Advertising is false, misleading or deceptive if it does one or more of the following:
(1) Contains a material misrepresentation of fact, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
(2) Is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the dentist can achieve.
(3) Compares the advertising dentists services with the services of other dentists unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.
(c) A dental advertisement in any medium shall contain the name of at least one dentist whose services are being advertised. Each dentist whose name appears in the advertisement shall assume responsibility for the advertisement and shall use the name that appears on the dentists current biennial renewal certificate. A dentist who advertises under a fictitious name shall comply with § 33.202 (relating to fictitious names).
(d) A dental advertisement in any medium may identify the dentist as a specialist in a particular area of dentistry, state that the practice is limited to a particular area of dentistry or merely designate the kinds of dental services available. In addition, the following shall be met:
(1) An advertisement may not hold out or imply that the dentist is a specialist in any area unless the conditions in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) are satisfied. Holding out as a specialist includes the use of the terms specialist and limited to specialty of or of words such as endodontist and pediatric dentist, which denote a practitioner of the dental specialties listed in subparagraph (i).
(i) The area must be recognized by the Board as a dental specialty. The Board has adopted the American Dental Associations (ADAs) standards for recognizing the following specialties:
(A) Dental public health.
(C) Oral and maxillofacial surgery.
(D) Oral pathology.
(F) Pediatric dentistry.
(ii) The dentist shall have successfully completed a specialty training program approved by the ADAs Commission on Dental Accreditation.
(2) A dentist who is a specialist in one area under paragraph (1) and advertises, in conjunction with the specialty, that services are provided in another recognized specialty area, or in a nonspecialty area (examples: a specialist in orthodontics announcing additional services in pediatric dentistry or a specialist in periodontics announcing additional services in placing dental implants) shall conspicuously disclose that specialty status does not extend to the other specialty or nonspecialty area.
(3) A specialist under paragraph (1) may not hold out or imply that general dentists associated with the practice are specialists.
(4) A dentist who is not a specialist under paragraph (1) may list the area in which the dentist practices or to which the practice is limited. If the advertisement identifies an area by a term that designates a recognized specialty under paragraph (1)(i), the advertisement shall conspicuously disclose that services are provided by a general dentist. For example, an advertisement that announces services in prosthodontics or oral surgery shall include the general dentist disclosure, whereas an advertisement that announces services such as crown and bridge work or extractions may omit the disclosure.
(5) Neither general dentists nor specialists may hold out or imply that a nonspecialty area of dentistry has specialty status. For example, dentists may not state that they specialize in or limit their practice to temporomandibular joint disorders or implantology but may announce services in, or a practice limited to diagnosing or treating temporomandibular joint disorders, or placing dental implants.
(e) A dental advertisement in any medium may contain the fees charged by the advertising dentist for dental services, as defined in subsection (k). If a minimum fee is advertised, the advertisement shall contain a statement disclosing that the advertised fee is the minimum fee charged for the advertised service and that the actual fee may vary depending on the degree of complexity involved in treatment. The disclosure statement shall be at least as prominent in the context of the advertisement as the fee information contained in the advertisement. If the fee information is verbal, the disclosure statement also shall be verbal and shall be at least equal to the fee information in volume, quality and duration. If the fee information is in writing, the disclosure statement also shall be in writing and shall be at least equal to the fee information in size, legibility and length.
(f) A dental advertisement in any medium may state that dental services, as defined in subsection (k), will be rendered free of charge.
(g) For at least 60 days following final publication or broadcast of an advertisement containing information about fees or free services, the advertising dentist shall neither increase the advertised fees nor charge fees for services advertised as free unless the advertisement specifically and conspicuously stated that the advertised fees or free services would be available for a shorter period of time. When a dental patient agrees, within the 60-day period or the period otherwise stated in the advertisement, to accept a treatment plan for services for which fees have been advertised, the advertising dentist may not charge a fee higher than the advertised fee, even if the services are rendered beyond the 60-day period or the period otherwise stated in the advertisement. When a dental patient
agrees, within the 60-day period or the period otherwise stated in the advertisement, to accept a treatment plan for services advertised as free, the advertising dentist may not charge fees for services, even if the services are rendered beyond the 60-day period or the period otherwise stated in the advertisement.
(h) A dental advertisement in any medium may state the dentists office hours.
(i) A recorded copy of an advertisement on radio or television shall be retained for 1 year following the final broadcast of the advertisement. The dentist who is responsible for the advertisement under subsection (c) shall furnish the Board with a copy of the advertisement within 20 days of being requested to do so.
(j) If the narrator of a dental advertisement on radio or television is represented as a dentist, that person shall be the dentist so represented.
(k) This subsection contains definitions of some but not all of the various types of dental services for which fees may be advertised under subsection (e). Whenever a fee is advertised for one of the defined terms listed in paragraphs (1)(10), the meaning of the term, as used in the advertisement, is at least as inclusive as the definition set forth in this subsection. These definitions will help ensure that commonly used terms for dental services convey the same meanings in advertisements, thus providing consumers with a better opportunity to compare fees for equivalent services.
(1) Examination. A study of the structures of the oral cavity, including the recording of the condition of the structures and the appropriate history. At a minimum, the study shall include the charting of caries; the notation of periodontal disease, occlusal discrepancies, and oral lesions; and a written diagnosis. If a dentist intends to render services in addition to the examination and to charge a separate fee for the additional services, the dentist shall disclose this separate fee to the patient before rendering the additional services.
(2) Treatment planning. A written statement of treatment recommendations following an examination and diagnosis. This statement shall include an itemized treatment recommendation and an itemized fee statement.
(3) Radiographs. X-rays of the hard and soft oral structures to be used as an aid to diagnosis.
(4) Oral prophylaxis. Scaling and polishing of teeth by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.
(5) Restorative dentistry. Procedures involving restoration of tooth structure. The advertisement shall indicate type of restoration and materials to be used.
(6) Endodontics. Treatment of the dental pulp, its replacement with suitable material and associated surgery, if indicated.
(7) Orthodontics. Prevention and treatment of irregular dentition.
(8) Periodontics. Treatment of diseases of the hard and soft tissue surrounding and supporting the oral dentition, including curettage, root planing, surgery, splinting, equilibration and hygiene control procedures.
(9) Prosthodontics. Restoration and replacement of teeth and other oral structures by artificial devices, including:
(i) Fixed prosthetics. Crowns and bridges. The advertisement shall indicate the type of prosthesis and materials to be used.
(ii) Removable prosthetics. Partial and full dentures. The advertisement shall indicate type of prosthesis and materials to be used.
(10) Surgery. Surgical treatment of hard or soft tissues, extractions, and treatment of oral pathology, injuries, pain, dysfunction, deformities or other conditions of the oral cavity and its surrounding structures.
The provisions of this § 33.203 adopted June 23, 1995, effective June 24, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 2492.
This section cited in 49 Pa. Code § 33.201 (relating to use of titles and other designations); and 49 Pa. Code § 33.202 (relating to fictitious names).
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