How to Address a Dentist

How to Address a Dentist: Doctor of Dentistry

The rule is either ‘Dr.‘ before, or the post-nominal abbreviation for their degree after. Never both at the same time.
NOTE: There are two degrees granted to dentists: DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine). Some universities award DDS, others DMD – they basically the same degree. Be sure you use the right one for your dentist.

—-Envelope, official:
——–(Full Name), DDS/DMD—— See NOTE above
——–(Name of practice)

—-Envelope, social:
——–Dr. (Full Name)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):

—-Note: it is never Dr. (Full Name), DDS/DMD


How to Address a Retired Dentist?

I would like to know how to address a card to a retired dentist?
—-Dr. John Smith
—-Mr. John Smith.
—-—-—-—-– Cari Winters

Dear Ms. Winters:

As a general rule, dentist continue to be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’  when retired.

Here’s the formal form:
—-—-Dr. John Smith

—-In a salutation use:
—-—-Dr. Smith

– Robert Hickey

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address a Dentist & His Wife?

When addressing a letter to a dentist and his wife, do you use ‘Dr. and Mrs. John H. Smith, DDS’.  Or is it either ‘Dr.’ or ‘DDS’?  I appreciate your help.
—-—-—-– Debra K

Dear Debra K:

A letter to a dentist and his wife is probably social.  Post-nominals abbreviations are not used on social correspondence.

An official/professional letter to his office would be:
—-(Full Name), (Post nominal for degree)
——– Which looks like:
—-——–John H. Smith, DDS

A social letter to his home would be:
—-Dr. (Full Name)
—-—- Which looks like:
—-——–Dr. John H. Smith

—-On a joint social letter –the names would be:
—-—-Dr. John H. Smith and Mrs. Smith
—-—-Dr. John H. Smith and Ms. Amy Stevens
—-—-Dr. John H. Smith and Dr. Susan K. Smith
—-—-Dr. and Mrs. John H. Smith

– Robert Hickey

—-See These Related Posts:
—-—-Couples: Private Citizens
—-—-Couples: Military
—-—-Couples: U.S. Officials
—-—-Couples: Same Sex

How to Address a Physician Who Lost His License?

I am involved in a case where the person on the other side is a physician who lost his license, with good reason, in every state in the US where he ever held one. Should this person still be addressed and referred to as Dr. Last Name? (i.e. Dr. Smith)

Various judges and attorneys have weighed in on this subject. A definitive answer from you would be much appreciated.
—-—-—-– S.B. in Chico

Dear S.B., How to Address an Osteopath

I say he continues to be addressed as Dr. (Name).  But it is not an only-one-answer situation.

—-#1) He becomes Mr.: By custom, U.S. elected officials are addressed as the Honorable (Full Name), unless they are removed from office or leave in disgrace. There is no protocol police force out there to enforce it, but that’s the custom. So, if you think of it that way address as ‘Dr.’ would have to go away.

—-#2) He stays Dr.: The honorific ‘Dr.’ is not issued by the local medical society. The locality issues licenses to practice in their jurisdiction. Retired physicians who no longer maintain their license are still addressed as ‘Dr. (name)’. So, addressing as ‘Dr.’ is not limited to having a current license.

—-#3) He stays Dr.: One is a Doctor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is separate from having a particular job, like chief of staff at a hospital or chairman of the department of surgery. Those are offices one might be forced out of, but one remains a Dr.

—-#4) He stays Dr.: Doctors, ambassadors an military personnel all have been granted a rank. When one has a rank one is addressed by rank in both professional and social situations. E.g., a physician is addressed Dr. (name) while seeing patients (present as a licensed medical professional) at the hospital. On weekends, when he is washing his car in his driveway (not present as a doctor) he’s ALSO addressed as ‘Dr. (name)’.

– Robert Hickey  How to Address a Chiropractor   How to Address an Optometrist How to Address an Osteopath

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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