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03-5631-19016: Basic Ethics in Dentistry

Course Abstract:

Contact Hours (CE): The Academy of Dental Learning and OSHA Training, LLC, designates this activity for 3 continuing education credits (3 CEs).
Cost: $30.00
Questions? Contact Us: Phone: 800-522-1207, Fax: 800-886-3009, or Email:
Published: October 2012
Updated February 2020
ExpiresFebruary 2023
Pages: 20
Course Instructor: Terrie Bruscino, EdD
Health Science Editor: Megan Wright, RDH, MS
No conflicts of interest are reported by the author or by educational planning committee members. >p>

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Understand what is meant by ethics in dentistry.
  • Understand the term "profession" and how it relates to ethics in dentistry.
  • Become familiar with elements and principles of ethical decision making.
  • Understand ethics regarding patient relations, delegation of duties, substance abuse in dentistry, financial arrangements, and managed care.
  • Understand the difference between dental law and dental ethics.
  • Define normative theories of ethics and apply them to issues in practice.
  • Understand and apply the principals of dental ethics to every day dental practice.

    Course Description

    The word ethics comes from the Greek ethos originally meaning character or conduct. It is typically used interchangeably with the word moral which is derived from the Latin word mores, which means customs or habits. Together these two terms refer to conduct, character, and motivations involved in moral acts. Thus, ethics are not imposed by a profession or by law, but by moral obligation. Ethics are an unwritten code of conduct that encompass both professional conduct and judgment. Though the details of the written ethical code may vary from profession to profession, the underlying principles of ethics remain the same.

    As David T. Ozar and David J. Sokol suggest in Dental Ethics at Chairside: Professional Principles and Practical Applications, the ethical issues faced by dentists in today’s society have become more complex and seem to arise more often than those faced by dentists in the past. Given the current direction of health and dental care, it is essential that dental professionals understand and practice wholeheartedly the code that has been set forth by the ADA.

    As with any profession that deals with human rights and liberties, dentists have a responsibility to their patients and communities in which they practice. Much like the Hippocratic Oath, the code of Dental Ethics created by the American Dental Association (ADA) serves as a standard to which all dental professionals are expected to adhere. It states that each member of the dental profession is responsible for “maintaining and enriching” the dental profession. It is important that “each member choose to meet” the obligations of the dental profession “according to the dictates of personal conscience based on the needs of the general public.” Within the code of conduct developed by the ADA (found here: there are five fundamental principles that serve as the codes foundation: patient autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and veracity.

    About the Author

    Ms. Wright is a continuing education editor and writer as well as a Temp PRN with agencies in the Washington State area. Ms. Wright earned her MS at the UNM and Pierce College of Washington State in 1997 and certification in Utilization of the 970 Diode Laser and Safety in Dentistry in February of 2015. Ms. Wright works to implement Dental Education seminars as a Hospital-Dental Liaison building collaborative, mutual efforts to promote patient wellness between medical practitioners and dentists while prioritizing care for untreated, medially compromised patients.

    How to Take This Course

    Click on the logo below to open the course book. Study the course then return to this page and click to Take the Exam. Upon successful completion of the exam you will be asked to register and pay over a secure connection. Your exam will grade automatically and your certificate will display for you to save and/or print for your records.

Contact Hours: 3.00
Price: $30.00

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