Contributor(s)P. Mark Bartold
KeywordsDentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
Codes Of Dental Conduct
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AbstractBackground: This paper details contemporary ethical dilemmas encountered by Queensland dentists. Methods: An age-stratified sample of 499 dentists resident in Queensland was surveyed. The questionnaire contained scenarios of five common ethical dilemmas. In addition, open-ended questions sought the respondent's most frequent, difficult and recent ethical dilemmas, and where they would seek guidance in dealing with ethical problems. Results: Respondents acknowledged the patient's rights in treatment decisions and the dentist's right to refuse demands for inappropriate treatment. However, responses varied in the extent to which dentists may influence treatment decisions. Few respondents would ignore evidence of poor dental treatment but they are evenly divided in choosing to inform the patient, the dentist or both. Poor quality treatment is the most frequent and difficult dilemma, and half have experienced this problem recently. Requests by patients for fraudulent receipts occur in a third of responses. Dentists develop ethical values from multiple sources but for help with dental ethical problems, 90 per cent of respondents would consult another dentist. Conclusions: Of the ethical dilemmas discussed in this survey, those relating to poor quality treatment confronted most respondents. Also the actions of dentists in dealing with these dilemmas were most varied.