Practice refuses new patient, citing weight too heavy for dental chairs

Dental Chair Office

A dental practice in the U.K. declined to take a man who weighed about 320 lbs as a new patient because he exceeded the weight limit of its dental chairs, according to a story recently published in Norwich Evening News.

On March 25, Jack Framingham, 26, signed up as a new patient at Taverham Dental Health Clinic in Suffolk only to be informed the next day that he exceeded the 294-lb weight limit of their dental chairs and therefore could not be treated there, according to the story.

Although the dental clinic acknowledged Framingham’s frustration, the practice responded that the weight limit is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of patients.

Nevertheless, Framingham, who needed to find a new dentist because he is moving, called the practice’s treatment toward him “disgusting.” Additionally, Framingham, who shared his criticism in an online review, remains frustrated due to unequal treatment he received and because other practices in the area that he contacted do not have maximum weights for dental chairs but aren’t taking any new patients, according to the report.

The clinic responded to his comment, apologizing for any convenience, and stated, “We assure you that this is in no way intended to discriminate or cause discomfort. Our utmost priority is to ensure that your journey with us is as comfortable and smooth as possible. We deeply regret any misunderstanding or dissatisfaction you may have experienced and we value your feedback.”

Most who have learned of Framingham’s treatment think the dental clinic did the right thing. Comments ranged from patting the clinic on the back for protecting itself from a potential lawsuit to applauding it for maintaining safety and health standards. Others stated that Framingham was playing victim and should do something about his obesity.  

This isn’t the first time a patient’s size and a dental chair weight limits have made the news.  

In 2022, Hove Family Dental in the U.K. informed dental patients that they would no longer treat patients who weighed 280 lbs or more to prevent them from damaging their expensive dental chairs again. The practice sent emails to patients, letting them know that the decision was made because people of that weight could exceed equipment capabilities.

However, some patients were critical of the decision, calling the ban nothing more than fat-shaming and discrimination.


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