http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/lorrie_goldstein/2010/07/19/14760481.html Ontario dentists can no longer uh drill their spouses. Indeed, a recent warning from the Canadian Dental Protective Association advising members they can no longer have sex with their spouses and still be their dentists, has left many dentists in an uproar. Plain and simple, if you want to continue having a sexual relationship with your spouse, immediately stop being their dentist and get them into the care of another dentist even if you live in small-town Ontario and the nearest dentist is 75 miles away, CDPA legal counsel Ted Kerzner warned in an e-mail last month. Your choice is simple, be your spouses dentist but cease being their sexual partner or, be your spouses sexual partner but cease being their dentist. It is one or the other. You cant do both. The only exception is, for example, if you wake up on Sunday morning to see your spouses cheek is swollen out to here with probably the worst abscess you have ever seen. In that case, emergency treatment will not create the sort of dentist-patient relationship that raises disciplinary issues. Kerzner told me he issued the warning based on a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision involving a chiropractor like dentistry, a regulated profession in Ontario establishing there is no spousal exemption for health care professionals when it comes to the regulatory prohibition against having sex with patients. He said unlike the medical profession, where doctors are instructed not to treat loved ones because their personal relationships could conflict with their medical decisions, theres no such provision in dentistry. Thus its common for dentists to treat spouses and many dont realize they run the risk of being convicted of professional misconduct and losing their licences if they do. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario warned dentists last month the court decision establishes Ontarios zero tolerance regulation prohibiting sex with patients, bans health providers from treating spouses or partners. While the College received a letter in 1995 from the Minister of Health permitting treatment of spouses, it notes, that landscape appears to have changed. A College spokesman told me it doesnt know whether the 1995 exemption still applies to dentists. A health ministry spokesman told me he cant comment on the 1995 letter, but the ministry leaves it to Ontarios self-regulating health professions to interpret the 1994 regulations banning sex with patients, which are silent on the question of spouses, as well as any court decisions. In other words: Whos on first? The Court of Appeal decision prompting the uproar had nothing to do with a married health care provider let alone a dentist treating a spouse. The case involved a Waterloo chiropractor who moved in with a woman in March, 2005, and started treating her a month later, until they broke up in October. At that time, she owed him $567 for treatment. When she refused to pay, he sent the account to a collection agency, whereupon she complained to the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, which charged the chiropractor with sexual abuse. The chiropractor was found guilty by a college disciplinary committee of professional misconduct for having sex with a patient and his licence was revoked for at least five years. The chiropractor appealed to Ontarios divisional court, which overturned the College decision, whereupon the College appealed to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the divisional court. If youre wondering what this has to do with a husband and wife who have been in a stable marriage for years, where the husband, a dentist, treats his wife, so are dentists. Its clear what happened back in 1994 when the regulations banning health care providers from having sex with patients were established. Incredibly, no one thought to include the common sense provision that sexual misconduct with a patient didnt mean a married health care provider, in this case a dentist, treating a spouse. Duh.