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Ethics in aesthetic dentistry Sunday, June 19, 2011

When making decisions about any course of aesthetic treatment it is wise to bear in mind the proverb by Pincus (1967):
‘There is nothing permanent in dentistry.’
The more destructive and invasive the dental treatment, the more the chances of complications and the poorer the survival rate. If minimal or ‘least invasive’ treatment is prescribed, then the chances of success and longevity are magnified. It is worth adhering to this wisdom.

A dentist should address such challenges with ethical discernment and prudence in order to minimise harms that could occur from over-treatment. The primary professional obligation is to protect health and promote the well-being of the patient. A good way to making integrity-based appropriate decisions is to do the daughter test. This is an unscientific but a good relevant test that is morally useful in determining best patient interest in aesthetic dentistry. This is the “daughter test”. (Kelleher 2010) This asks the question:
“Knowing what I know about what is involved with this proposed dentistry, would I carry out this treatment on my own daughter?”
A negative response to this question should prompt a rethink of the values and motives for the proposed treatment plan.

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