Second edition of Dental Ethics Manual launched at FDI World Dental Congress

08 September 2018 Dental ethics
Dr Jos V. M. Welie portrait

Dr Jos V. M. Welie, Dental Ethics Manual 2 co-author.

The updated, second edition of the Dental Ethics Manual was released at the session “Dental Ethics Manual—A tool for dental education and dental practitioners” today at the FDI World Dental Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The authors were present for an in-depth discussion and exchange on ethics in the field of dentistry.

According to FDI, the second edition will serve to better prepare dental practitioners to grapple with important ethical dilemmas and uphold an exceptional standard of care throughout their careers. FDI sat down with Dr Jos V. M. Welie, one of the authors of the Dental Ethics Manual and a session speaker, to obtain his thoughtful insights on this new edition.

Tell us a little bit about the second edition of the Dental Ethics Manual. What’s new?

It’s still a manual, still a short one, still for dental practitioners and dental students. It’s still written for an international audience. But besides these similarities, it’s really a complete overhaul. The first manual was written by a single author; this one is co-authored by an international team of dental ethicists who have closely collaborated over the past three years. It’s also much more interdisciplinary, reflecting the broad expertise of this team, including clinical dentistry, dental education, dental research, business, law, medicine, and philosophy.

Although written as a comprehensive manual, each chapter can be read separately, for example as part of a seminar for students or when clinical dentists need to gain more insight into the ethical ramifications of a specific dilemma they may be facing.

Who is the primary audience of the Dental Ethics Manual?

We have tried to make the manual relevant and user-friendly for as wide an audience as possible, whether they be experienced clinicians, first-year dental students, dental office managers or policymakers.

What sets dental ethics apart from healthcare ethics more broadly?

There are some ethical issues that dentists face much more frequently than other health professionals do. For example, the vast majority of dentists provide patients not only with healthcare services, but also with aesthetic services. That’s not true of nurses or respiratory therapists. Dentists do not often think about the difference between these two types of services, but ethically they are very different indeed.

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