Dallas County Dental Society dentists are members of the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA is known for its Code of Ethics. In fact, The Code of Ethics separates ADA members from other dentists. You might be surprised that not every dentist is pledged to follow a code of ethics. So, it’s advisable to ask your dentist, “Are you an ADA member?” ADA and DCDS members agree to abide by the ADA Code of Ethics.
That sounds academic, but it’s not. The ADA Code of Ethics impacts patients in a tangible way. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the benefit of a Code of Ethics until they have a negative experience. It’s only after a negative experience that many realize the benefits of a dentist or doctor operating within a code of ethics. Not every dentist abides by a code of ethics as ADA dentists do. Our members have chosen to pledge to operate their practices with high standards that impact patient care and the patient experience. It’s far from academic.
There are five general ideas in the ADA Code of Ethics and they each affect the patient’s experience. They are:
Self-governance – This is an acknowledgement of the patient’s decisions. ADA dentists have the duty to respect the patient’s rights to self-determination and confidentially.
Do No Harm – An ADA dentist has the duty to refrain from harming the patient.
Do Good – An ADA dentist has a duty to promote the patient’s welfare, through actions, education and by being available to the patient.
Fairness – An ADA dentist has the duty to treat people fairly. And, there are checks and balances, including a mediation service offered by DCDS to help resolve any issues that might arise at no cost to the dentist or patient.
Truthfulness – An ADA dentist has the duty to communicate truthfully. Truthfulness may be implied in many conversations but ADA dentists go one step further to assure truthfulness with this duty.
And, the public responds to knowing a Code of Ethics is in place. You can read more about survey results on this topic here.
How do you know you are assured these values with your dentist? Ask him or her, “Are you a member?” If they are a member of the ADA and the DCDS, then you know this Code of Ethics is guiding your dental care. If you dentist is not a member, ask him or her to join.