Senate Bill No. 538
(By Senators Foster and Jenkins)
[Introduced March 14, 2005; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §30-4C-1, §30-4C-2,
§30-4C-3, §30-4C-4 and §30-4C-5, all relating to the
regulation of advertising by dentists.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §30-4C-1, §30-4C-2,
§30-4C-3, §30-4C-4 and §30-4C-5, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4C. DENTAL ADVERTISING.
As used in this article, the following words and terms have
the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates
(1) "Board" means the West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners;
(2) "Advertising" means any communication, whether oral or written, between a dentist or other entity acting on behalf of one
or more dentists and the public. It includes, but is not limited
to: business cards, signs, insignias, letterheads, web pages,
Internet communications, radio, television, newspaper and magazine
ads, and display or group ads or listings in telephone directories,
§30-4C-2. Dentists may advertise.
(a) Any advertising engaged in by a duly registered and
currently licensed dentist in West Virginia shall be in compliance
with the provisions set forth herein and as set forth in article
four of this chapter.
(b) A duly registered and currently licensed dentist may not
use or participate in the use of any advertising containing a
false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair statement or
(c) Any advertisement must contain the name of or names of all
of the duly registered and currently licensed dentists providing
patient care and who are regularly employed in or responsible for
the management, supervision and operation of each office location
listed in the advertisement.
(d) A duly registered and currently licensed dentist may:
(1) Use the titles or degrees, such as doctor, dentist, D.D.S.
or D.M.D. if the dentist holds a degree or degrees from an
accredited dental school. A dentist who has a medical degree may also use that degree;
(2) Use the title Diplomate in connection with his or her
specialty if he or she has been conveyed that status by the
Specialty Board recognized by the American Dental Association and
has a current license to practice his or her specialty issued by
the Board entitling him or her to engage in a specialty practice;
(3) Use the words specialist, specializing in, limited to the
specialty of, or practice limited to if the dentist has a current
license to practice his or her specialty issued by the Board,
entitling him or her to engage in a specialty practice.
§30-4C-3. Announcement of Services.
(1) Any announcement of services by a general practitioner
shall state in a prominent manner that the dental practice is one
of general dentistry.
(2) The announcement of services of the general practice of
dentistry shall be clearly legible, with print equal to or larger
than the announcement of services, and clearly audible, with speech
volume and pace equal to the announcement of services.
(3) If terms implying services associated with specialty
practices are used, a disclaimer must be used. The terms of
specialty practice include, but are not limited to: Orthodontics,
braces, endodontics, root canals, periodontics, gum surgery, oral
surgery, extractions, prosthodontics, crowns, bridges, full or partial dentures. The disclaimer shall be clearly legible, with
print equal to or larger than the announcement of services, and
clearly audible, with speech volume and pace equal to the
announcement of services. The disclaimer shall state: "(list
nonspecialty interest areas) (is or are) nonspecialty interest
areas that require no specific educational training to advertise
(4) Any announcement or advertisement of services implying
nonspecialty interest areas, which are not recognized by the
American Dental Association, must include a disclaimer.
Nonspecialty interest areas include, but are not limited to:
bleaching, cosmetic dentistry, implantology, implant dentistry and
temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) therapy. These or other terms,
which imply a nonspecialty interest area, must be accompanied by a
disclaimer that is clearly legible, with print equal to or larger
than the announcement of services, and clearly audible, with speech
volume and pace equal to the announcement of services. The
disclaimer shall state: "(list nonspecialty interest areas) (is or
are) nonspecialty interest areas that require no specific
educational training to advertise this service."
(5) Any announcement or advertisement of conscious sedation
services, which includes, but is not limited to, sleep dentistry
and twilight sleep, may only be allowed by a licensed dentist in
compliance with the provision of article four-a of this chapter.
(6) Any duly registered and currently licensed dentist who
directly or indirectly advertises the availability and price of
goods, appliances or services shall do so in a clear and
nondeceptive manner and include all material information necessary
to fully inform members of the general public about the nature of
the goods, appliances or services offered at the announced price.
Any listed prices shall be extended for a reasonable period of
time. Any advertised price for a routine service shall be a fixed
price, with no range of fees, and no patient can be charged a fee
in excess of that advertised price for that particular service.
(7) Any consumer who receives any free services, examination
or treatment, in response to an advertisement, from any duly
registered and licensed dentist in West Virginia shall have the
right to refuse to pay, cancel payment or be reimbursed for payment
for any other service, examination or treatment which is performed
as a result of and within seventy-two hours of receiving the free
service, examination or treatment, unless the other service,
examination or treatment is requested by the patient at the time
she or he seeks the free offer. The dentist shall inform patients
in writing of their rights under this section prior to the patient
receiving the free service, examination or treatment.
(8) Any advertising engaged in by a duly registered or
licensed dentist in West Virginia containing an offer of a discount
or a credit toward a fee, whether expressed in terms of a particular dollar amount or a particular percentage shall contain
a statement of the highest fee normally charged by the advertising
dentist for the services which the discount or credit applies and
a statement of exactly what services are included in the offer. If
the offer of a discount or credit applies to the full range of
dental services offered by the dentist, then a fee schedule stating
all fees for the dental services shall be made available to any
person requesting it and its availability shall be noted in the
§30-4C-4. Articles, messages or newsletters.
Any dental health article, message or newsletter published
under a dentist's byline to the public without making truthful
disclosure of the source and authorship, or designed to give rise
to questionable expectations for the purpose of inducing the public
to utilize the services of the sponsoring dentist, or designed to
imply specialization or unusual expertise in a recognized specialty
area unless the sponsoring dentist is currently licensed in the
particular specialty area discussed in the article is a false,
misleading or deceptive representation to the public.
Any registered and currently licensed dentist in West Virginia
failing to comply with the provisions of this article is subject to
disciplinary action as provided in section twenty, article four of
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to regulate the advertising
of dental practice.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.