Waltham Dentist Ordered to Stop False Advertising
Yesterday, on Monday, November 23, 2020, Waltham dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Cummings, doing business at 520 Main Street in Waltham, was ordered to stop falsely advertising he is currently affiliated with and a member of a national organization, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (the “AACD”). It is unknown when the false advertising began, but Dr. Cummings had a large sign outside his building for years, shown here in a photo of his office building address from the Apartments.com site, advertising he does “Cosmetic” and “Implant” Dentistry.
AACD was contacted by a former patient of Dr. Cummings, who in turn immediately contacted Dr. Cummings. The former patient had checked the AACD online directory at https://aacd.com/profiles to find out if Dr. Cummings is actually listed at AACD as an AACD member, since he advertises such an affiliation on his website bio page and on his stationary. But he was not listed as a member on the AACD website.
By yesterday evening, the false advertising on his website bio page was removed, following the demand from AACD to Dr. Cummings to remove it.
On the AACD website, this national organization describes itself as follows:
“The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD) is dedicated to advancing excellence in the art and science of comprehensive cosmetic dentistry and encouraging the highest standards of ethical conduct and responsible patient care.”
AACD has different levels of membership for dentists, some of which require a substantial amount of work for a dentist to claim an affiliation. As to their policy on dentists advertising an affiliation when no such affiliation exists with AACD, their membership director, Dana J. Murn, had this to say in an email:
“…we contact those who are using our logo and claiming to be a member.”
According to Ms. Murn, a complaint of a dentist falsely advertising an affiliation with AACD goes “to our Ethics department.”
It is unclear whether Dr. Cummings had malpractice insurance during the time he was falsely advertising an affiliation with AACD.
According to the MA Board of Dentistry, Massachusetts is a state that does NOT require evidence of malpractice insurance for a dentist. When contacted about this, Barbara A. Young, RDH, Executive Director, Mass. Board of Registration in Dentistry, stated in an email:
“The Board does not require a dentist to carry malpractice insurance …. Since this policy is not required by the Board, we do not track whether a dentist does or does not carry malpractice coverage.”
The name of the former patient of Dr. Cummings who contacted AACD and the MA Board of Dentistry is not being disclosed in this article because the patient has a right to privacy of records.
False advertising is illegal in Massachusetts and is recognized as a deceptive business practice. Dentists are supposed to be truthful in their communications as required by the American Dental Association Code of Ethics, which is part of the licensing test for dentists in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.