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Mel Gibson is one of the most hated men in America, and for good reason. He’s been involved in a number of highly-publicized racist rants, and now, the suspected beating of his ex-girlfriend.

So what does this have to do with dentistry? Well, it turns out that Mel could be in big trouble with the law, and the star witness that could bring him down is a dentist. On January 6, 2010, Gibson’s now ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, visited Dr. Shelden, a San Fernando Valley dentist after having a teeth knocked out and anothey chipped by none other than Mel Gibson.

Why wasn’t it reported until now? According to TMZ, Oksana asked to be treated confidentially by Dr. Shelden. Legally, if Dr. Shelden suspected that Oksana’s injuries were the result of abuse, he’s obligated to report that to the police. However, he apparently felt that patient confidentiality trumped his legal obligations.

This brings up a very important question.

Should dentists comply with the law and report suspected abuse, or respect patient confidentiality?

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Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of DentalPlanCards.com. He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +