I had a dental appointment this morning, and the dentist (as per usual) insisted that I get an NTI night guard and a Philips Sonicare. I politely said 'no' as I have the last 6 visits, but the insistence is starting to creep me out a bit.

I had a previous dentist who sold me a night guard for $500 that really messed up my jaw. When I confronted him on why he was pushing something so hard that the insurance didn't cover (for good reason!), he flatly told me "I don't make a dime selling night guards, this is just an option we provide to customers who would benefit." I found this very hard to believe, - obviously there's some lack of specificity in the terms "I" and "make money" - so I let it go.

So what I want now is a polite way I can ask my current dentist (or possible future dentist) a question such that they can either 1) decline to answer or 2) answer it clearly and unequivocally.

EDIT: I'll try to be more specific: I want to ask my dentist : "Is Philips paying you to sell me their product?" in a way that will put them on the hook for fraud if they intentionally equivocate. (They could say "Well, technically, I don't get paid directly by Philips, but this information is reported to the dental management company, which has a contract with Philips, and the management company gives me quarterly performance reviews which affect my salary") If they lie, and I buy the product, and later discover that they lied, then they have committed fraud (this is my understanding.) I'm not sure the exact form of the answer I'm looking for, but certainly reading the language of the standard conflict of interest forms is not something I'm about to do to a dentist.

  • 2
    This doesn't answer your question, but if you don't trust your dentist, your first step should be to get a new dentist.
    – Patrick87
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:51
  • Yeah, I'm already on dentist # 2. How do I make sure I trust Dentist # 3?
    – A.S.
    Nov 10, 2015 at 23:52
  • I am not sure that this question is on topic. It seems to be about professional ethics and etiquette but not law. Nov 11, 2015 at 1:45
  • Just go just go buy Philips Sonicare on Amazon for $100. There is not enough money in it for there to be some elaborate kickback.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 11, 2015 at 18:41
  • The point isn't really the Sonicare, I'm asking a specific instance of a general question: How can I ask someone who is promoting a product if they are being paid to do so, without saying "Do you, or any immediate family member, have a personal affiliation, or financial connection, directly or indirectly, to any organization or person that may benefit from the sales of this product that might be construed as potentially interfering with your ability to provide an unbiased recommendation ... blah blah ......
    – A.S.
    Nov 11, 2015 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


There is no law that helps you. The dentist is under no obligation to tell you about the business and has no duty to be honest with you about such questions. Unless you have a private agreement, for example:

Dentist: Would you like to buy a toothbrush?
You: Yes I will, but only if you do not profit from it.
Dentist: I do not profit.
You: OK, I will buy it.

If the dentist is lying, this would constitute fraud in the inducement, which you can research if you like. Keep in mind that your remedy is litigation.

The nightguard is a different question. Unnecessary appliances and procedures have their own set of consequences, but that is not your question.

  • My basic question still is the following: How can I be sure that he does not equivocate with the term "profit" ? For example, suppose I see the dentist at a resort in the Mediterranean and he tells me that he is on a three week long "tooth brush training session" that The Tooth Company "requires" of "elite associates" who sell 2 million tooth brushes per year. I say " you said you didn't profit". He says "I am at an all expense paid training, but I was never paid any money. Therefore I do not profit, and answered you truthfully."
    – A.S.
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:02
  • Would a judge or jury agreeing with the dentist satisfy you?
    – jqning
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:58

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