Ethics in dentistry
When it comes to ethical and sustainable businesses, most of us think of things like shopping, recycling and electric cars. However, ethical practice crosses into many other aspects of life, and one of them that you may not have considered is choosing an ethical dentist.
However, there are many ways – both professional and environmental – that dentists can run ethical practices. People looking for a dentist with ethical practices that benefit you as a patient and also the environment. Here are the questions you should be asking if you want to ensure that your dentist is ethical:
- Is this minimal intervention dentistry?
Tooth tissue is special because once it’s gone it will not grow back. Make sure it’s being prioritised; dental health and prevention should outrank treatment and surgeries.
- Are you getting all the information you need?
Your dentist should be providing you with the best information available to help you understand why you need certain treatments in order that you can give your informed consent for all procedures. This might involve informative software or an intra-oral camera so that you can see exactly what is happening in your mouth on a screen and then discuss all the implications from an educated viewpoint.
- Who else is involved?
Dentists use laboratories for certain aspects of their practice. What are their ethical practices?
- Are the X-Rays digital?
This means a lower amount of radiation is being used to produce an image that remains of excellent quality.
- What is the policy with paper?
Are patient records stored electronically? Not only does this mean that nothing goes astray, but also that the files are not using up paper needlessly.
- What is the recycling policy?
Dental products are frequently stored in plastic bags; does your dentist minimise their use? Do they employ good recycling practice?
- What is the energy consumption policy?
Does the practice have low-energy lighting? What is their central heating usage like?
For those who wish to live an ethical lifestyle, even businesses and services that you don’t use very often should meet your standards for ethical practice. Plus, the more spotlight is turned onto ethical business, the more businesses will start to turn their practice around in order to meet with the evolving demands of their patients, clients and customers.
Vivienne Egan writes for Wandsworth dentists, Ethicare Dental.