The ethics of a fair and honest treatment plan

An interesting article titled “The ethics of presenting a fair and honest treatment plan,” is written by Marvin Elwood Rice, appearing in JADA, April 2017, vol. 148, issue 4. The article discusses a dentist who has had numerous occasions in which a relative, past patient, or a new patient has called for a second opinion because of what another dentist has shown them on the oral camera screen. These are patients who take care of their teeth and are familiar with their conditions. In each instance, the patient was in a panic because the dentist enlarged his or her teeth on the overhead screen and pointed to a dark developmental groove or a stained pit and tried to convince the patient that they had a cracked tooth and needed a crown or that the stained areas were active carious lesions and they … Read more

Filing Billing for Dentists to Help Patients

An interesting article titled “You want me to do what?” written by Douglas Auld appears in the March 2016 issue of JADA. The article discusses a patient who has an an abscess on a mandibular right third molar which requires extraction. The treatment was done in December and the patient had already used their full benefits from their dental insurance for the year. So the patient suggested to the dentist to bill for the extraction in January and also suggested to file it as a surgical extraction and apply the difference to his balance. The article asks if it is ethical for dentists to do any of this. The article states that a dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully with third parties. It says “A dentist who submits a claim form to a third party reporting incorrect treatment dates for the purpose of … Read more

Should a Dentist Work While They are Sick?

An interesting article titled “Ethical concerns of working while ill,” appears in the Sept. 2015, issue of JADA (vol. 146, no. 9, pp. 711-712). The article talks about a dentist who over a period of a few days got progressively sicker. The article questions whether or not he should work or take time off until he gets over the illness. The article discusses a NSF International survey of workers that says 26% of all workers go into work when sick. The article says that 42% of Americans  work while sick. The article states that dentists have an obligation to do no harm to their patients. If they report to work while sick and are treating older patients who have increased risk of getting pulmonary illness this can be a problem. The article states that dentists also need to provide a certain … Read more

How to Address a Patient who Had an Interrupted Treatment Plan

An interesting article titled “Following up with a patient whose treatment has been interrupted” appears in the November 2014, JADA, and written by Michael H. Halasz. The article discusses a patient who received a complex treatment from a military dentist. The treatment started but because of deployment of a large number of troops in Iraq the treatment was interrupted so that the dentists could attend to other troops. The article addresses if the patient was abandoned during this time. The American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct states “Once a dentist has undertaken a course of treatment, the dentist should not discontinue that treatment without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another dentist. Care should be taken that the patient’s oral health is not jeopardized in the process.” The … Read more

The Ethics of a Dentist Leaving a Practice

An interesting article written by William Walton, appears in JADA December 2014, titled “Addressing the ethics of leaving a dental practice.” In the article, a discussion of what a dentist should ethically do when they are at a current dental practice and are moving to a different dental practice. It is stated that the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct provide guidance on what should be done in such a situation. It is suggested that once a dentist knows they are moving to a different practice they notify their patients of this and the departure date. Further, if a patient is in the midst of a treatment plan, then discussions should take place regarding if the treatment can be finished and if this is unlikely then other options for completing the treatment should be discussed. … Read more