Dental professionals often avoid dealing with substance use disorder (legal and/or illegal) in their patients and in their colleagues. There is a natural reluctance to approach a co-worker suspected of abuse of alcohol or other mood-altering substances. There is the fear that speaking out could anger the co-worker resulting in retribution or could result in a colleague losing his/her job or even their license. Rest assured if you contact us and wish your name to stay anonymous, it will.
The ADA Code of Ethics requires dentists to report a colleague that is expected of being impaired to their State Wellness Program or the State Board of Dentistry. We, of course, recommend you reporting a colleague to us, so appropriate help can be offered. Every effort is made to retain the professional skills of the individual for the sake of the community and the profession while ensuring that public safety is not compromised.
The Tennessee Dental Professional Wellness Foundation will focus on helping the practitioner (dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant) by first contacting the individual. If an evaluation and treatment is appropriate, we will refer the individual for appropriate care. After evaluation and treatment, if the individual needs advocacy with the Tennessee Dental Board, insurance companies, hospitals or other entities, we offer that service as well. Once the practitioner is found to be fit to practice, we will monitor the individual, so that advocacy is available if it is needed in the future.
This form allows people in the Tennessee Dental community to refer colleagues for evaluation by the Tennessee Dental Wellness Foundation.