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Dental Ethics

May 25th, 2012

The term “ethics” can be generally thought of as a system of moral principles, including the rules of conduct   of “right versus wrong.”  Almost everyone wants to live an ethical life, but knowing what that means is not as simple as it sounds. We are constantly faced with ethical dilemmas, and we make decisions based on what we feel is the best ethical course of action in each particular situation.  We are faced with both societal standards that encompass the norms and values of the community, and our own personal set of values used to guide our actions and to recognize our obligations. Within the profession of dentistry, the concept of ethics is a bit more specific, and there are very clear ethical guidelines which dictate the manner in which we treat our patients, behave among our peers, and present ourselves to the public.
Members of both the American Dental Association and the New York State Dental Association are obligated to adhere to a very strict code of ethics and professional conduct.  Each local dental society has an “ethics committee” which serves to investigate patient complaints about possible cases of ethical misconduct and to initiate proper courses of action.  Additionally, there is both a statewide and a national “Ethics Council” which serve to set policy for the profession and to handle more complex cases of violations of our dental ethical codes.  Please be assured that our dental organizations carry out our professional ethical responsibilities with the utmost diligence, and a constant concern for what is best for our patients and the general public.

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