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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-26

Qualitative assessment of ethical issues in dental practice: An expert opinion

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, AECS Maruthi Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Yenepoya Dental College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, M R Ambedkar Dental College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Vanishree M Kemparaj
Department of Public Health Dentistry, AECS Maruthi Dental College, Hulimavu, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru - 560 076, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.216513

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Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the ethical issues in dental practice using the experts opinion. Methodology: The study was conducted among 15 bioethicists. The bioethicists working in various healthcare institutions and nongovernmental organizations were interviewed with the open-ended questions to describe the possible ethical challenges that now exist in dental practice. They were also questioned regarding the influence of ethical issues on dental profession, patients, and community. Further, they were probed how to overcome such an ethical challenge in dental practice. The statements given by bioethicists were analyzed using common coding, constant comparative method, and inductive approach of qualitative data analysis. Attempts were made to look into the theoretical insight of the statements and discrepancies in coding were discussed among the investigators until the consensus was reached. Finally, 18 categories of perceived ethical challenges in dental practice emerged. Results: The ethical challenges were issues such as competence of dentist, conflict of interest, overtreatment, lack of time, practicing defensive medicine, paternalism, confidentiality and its limit, informed consent, infectious diseases, lack of awareness, management issues such as commercialization of dental practice, high cost of dental care, training of dental professionals, hospital management policies, advent of new technologies, and lack of guidance from professional organizations. Conclusion: The study helped identify the present ethical challenges prevailing in dental practice in Indian scenario. It also helps sensitize the dental professionals in maintaining and providing quality dental care. It is important to incorporate ethical standards in daily dental practice. It is needed to provide appropriate training methods in the dental profession for continuing toward acceptable ethical behavior in dentistry.

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