Dentist awards and other marketing gimmicks

Have you ever visited a dentist that had an award on his or her wall that said they are a “top dentist”? Were they nominated as being one of the “best” dentists in the area and have a plaque to show for it?  Ask them who voted.  Did you vote?  Some of these awards may be legitimate.  For instance, local newspapers will run a contest where patients can vote for their favorite doctor.  But most of these things are phony paid advertisements.

I frequently get solicitations that I’ve been nominated/voted as a “top dentist” from some ambiguous company.  For a fee, they’ll send me a fancy plaque to mount in my office.  The only apparent requirements for this prestigious award was that I graduated from dental school, have a pulse and a credit card number.

I see this as just another way professionals are eroding away the trust that society has given us.  If you can pay for these awards, shouldn’t you disclose that? If you legitimately won an award, great.  Let your patients know.  But if you paid for the award to impress others, that’s kind of sad.