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Ethics in the Dentistry Field


We trust our dentists to know what is best for us and our oral health. Dentists spend many years in school learning the ins and out of tooth and gum health. When it comes to patient care, most dentists make the right decisions. When it comes to ethics, though, sometimes following the rules can be tough. Money is a huge motivator and this often causes many dentists to engage in fraudulent activities, which can lead to license suspension and revocation.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has a code of conduct that licensed dentists must abide by. This code outlines ethics and professional conduct between dentists and society. These ethics outline what is prohibited and what is required. They provide guidelines so that dentists know how to provide the best care possible for their patients and perform their duties with integrity.

The ADA Code consists of five principles: patient autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and veracity. Sometimes these principles compete with each other, so it may be difficult to determine which one is a priority.

Patient Autonomy

The patient has the right to confidentiality and self-determination. The dentist has an obligation to involve the patient in treatment decisions and treat the patient according to the patient’s desires. Confidentiality of patient records is also important, and dentists should act in accordance with the law.


Known as “do no harm,” nonmaleficence refers to having the proper education and skills to avoid harming the patient. Dentists should be aware of their own limitations and know when to refer patients to dentists with more skill in a certain area. Nonmaleficence also refers to impairment, so dentists should not perform work on patients when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.


Dentists have a duty to do good and protect the patient’s health and safety at all costs. Dentists must always act for the benefit of others. Their patients and the public should be their highest priorities.


Justice involves treating people fairly. This refers to not only patients, but colleagues and society as well. They should perform dental services to all patients equally, without discriminating against a person’s color, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability. 


Truthfulness is important in dentistry. Dentists must be honest with their patients at all times in terms of patient care and billing. Overcharging for services is common in the medical fields, so dentists need to take care to prevent this from happening, as this can compromise the dentist-patient relationship.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Dentistry License Lawyer 

Ethics is one of the biggest issues that dentists have to contend with. It can be hard to do the right thing sometimes, especially when there is a focus on money and profit.

If you are facing licensing issues due to ethical issues, act quickly to protect your license. Tampa dentistry license lawyer David P. Rankin has decades of experience helping dentists and other licensed professionals hold onto their licenses. Schedule a consultation today by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.