Category Archives: Ethics

Patient autonomy vs. patient-pleasing as a new dentist

The day we obtain our dental license, our role changes from student to doctor. After a lifetime of being told what to do by “grown-ups,” teachers and professors, the roles reverse. It can be challenging when confronted by patients asking us to do things we are not comfortable with doing, especially if we want to please our patients.… Read More »

The ethical dilemma of infectious disease disclosure for dentists

In July 1990, the Florida Department of Health reported a possible transmission of HIV from a dentist to five of his patients.1 Though it was unclear if actual transmission of the virus actually occurred, this incidence caused much controversy and worry within dental community.2,3 At the time, health care providers were to follow the CDC’s “Recommendations for Preventing… Read More »

Licensure Reform: The case for eliminating the clinical exam

Some may argue that progress has indeed been made in the administration of the licensure exam over the last 50 years given that regional testing authorities have increased from two in 1971 to the current number of five. Although undoubtedly there has been improvement in the uniformity, the ease of test-taking, and the administration of the examination, the… Read More »

A north star for practicing after 2020 and beyond

2020 was unkind to everybody. The pandemic has placed restrictions on businesses, causing huge losses across the board. Much like the recession in the late 2000s, prospective students coming out of long periods of education will be arriving into a world that they might not be prepared for. There are new guidelines to meet that weren’t part of… Read More »

Navigating difficult conversations: When sensitive topics come up, what do you do?

Opioids. Dental neglect. Anti-science claims. These are just some of the sensitive topics that may come up for a practicing dentist. When difficult situations arise, what do you do? Dr. Donovan Caves, a general dentist in Suffolk, Virginia, cited pain medication requests as a source of potential conflict for many practices. When a patient requests narcotics, he and… Read More »

‘Friending’ patients: What are the potential ethical considerations?

Q: As caring, compassionate, and friendly practitioners, we naturally care and are curious about our patients and their lives. We certainly garner information on many of our patients’ typical family activities, vacations, purchases, life changes, and other events as a part of interacting with them in a treatment setting. In fact, this is often how we best display… Read More »