Ethics In Dentistry Today

Senior couple smiling

Last week, after a long day’s work, my staff and I were getting ready to close up. An elderly gentleman walked into our dental practice in Garland, TX.

The gentleman wanted to know if we could provide him a second opinion for his dental needs. Though we were nearly done for the day, we made an exception for this man, as he seemed under some kind of distress.

The staff seated him and took X-rays of his teeth. I did a thorough exam and observed that he had generally fair oral hygiene and needed only a little bit of work. We presented him with a treatment plan.

When he looked at it, he seemed surprised, or maybe shocked.

After a few minutes, he asked me if the treatment plan was comprehensive. I assured him that it was all he needed. He took out another treatment plan that was presented to him elsewhere by another dental office, a “chain” practice, located not too far from Kings Dental in Garland.

Although no two treatment plans are likely to be identical, the treatment plan given to him by the other dentist seemed like it was someone else’s, i.e. someone who had absolutely horrendous dental hygiene and in need of a large amount of work.

Just to make sure I had not missed anything, I looked again. The teeth with proposed treatments were absolutely fabulous, nothing needed whatsoever.

It was clear to me that this was a case of “over diagnosis”, which unfortunately, is something that is becoming all too common these days in dentistry, particularly in Texas. How can we do this to any of our patients, let alone vulnerable seniors ?

Ethics and Hippocratic Oath

As a healthcare provider, I do believe that dentists are responsible for the patient’s well being just as physicians are for their patients’ well being. Although dentists do not take the “Hippocratic Oath” (an oath that says we’d practice with honesty and integrity) like our counterparts in medicine, it is incumbent upon us to diagnose ethically and to respect the trust our patients have in us.

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It’s sad to see that there are dentists and corporate run chains that treat this noble profession as a business venture where maximizing profits is the only goal. We encourage our patients to do a lot of research before picking the practice they can trust with their dental needs.

At Kings dental we strive to do our best for our patients and we take great pride in doing what is right. Our treatments are conservative and our business practices are ethical. The patient’s oral health and well being are our top priorities.

If you or your family needs a dentist in Garland, Rowlett or nearby areas, please consider Kings Dental for your dental needs. We offer convenient hours, family-friendly dentistry, and flexible payment plans. Above all, we offer conservative and trustworthy dentistry.

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