Professional Decorum Within the Dental Profession: What is Considered Appropriate?

Doyle, Alicia, Khloe Manuel, LaToria Wilkerson, C'vaeo Edwards, and Pamela Gibes

The objective of the survey study was to determine dental professionals’ opinions regarding potential employees’ appearance with respect to visible tattoos, visible piercings, and extreme hair color. A survey, approved by the Institutional Review Board (#1516-24) focused on dental professionals’ perceptions regarding the appearance of office employees. The attitudes of dental professionals towards visible tattoos, visible piercings, and extreme hair colors were surveyed to determine if body modifications impacted either employment or office policies addressing body modifications. Results of the survey, administered at a local dental professional meeting, revealed that the majority of those surveyed agreed that employee body modifications may create an unprofessional atmosphere in the dental office and may make patients feel uncomfortable.  79% of the respondents agreed/strongly agreed that the appearance of the applicant can influence their decisions during the hiring process. While the majority of dental professionals did not permit their employees to have visible tattoos, piercings or extreme hair color while working in the office, 66% of those surveyed answered they did not have a policy in place addressing visible body modifications for employees. Results of this survey suggest the need to specific office policies regarding acceptable body modifications among employees in a dental environment.