International Principles of Ethics for the Dental Profession

ADOPTED by FDI General Assembly September, 1997 in Seoul, South Korea

These International Principles of Ethics for the Dental Profession should be considered as guidelines for every dentist. These guidelines cannot cover all local, national, traditions, legislation or circumstances. The professional dentist will:

  • practice according to the art and science of dentistry and to the principles of humanity
  • safeguard the oral health of patients irrespective of their individual status

The primary duty of the dentist is to safeguard the oral health of patients. However, the dentist has the right to decline to treat a patient, except for the provision of emergency care, for humanitarian reasons, or where the laws of the country dictate otherwise.

  • should refer for advice and/or treatment any patient requiring a level of competence beyond that held

The needs of the patient are the overriding concern and the dentist should refer for advice or treatment any patient requiring a level of dental competence greater than he/she possesses.

  • must ensure professional confidentiality of all information about patients and their treatment

The dentist must ensure that all staff respect patients confidentiality except where the laws of the country dictate otherwise.

  • must accept responsibility for, and utilise dental auxiliaries strictly according to the law

The dentist must accept full responsibility for all treatment undertaken, and no treatment or service should be delegated to a person who is not qualified or is not legally permitted to undertake this.

  • must deal ethically in all aspects of professional life and adhere to rules of professional law
  • should continue to develop professional knowledge and skills

The dentist has a duty to maintain and update professional competence through continuing education through his/her active professional life.

  • should support oral health promotion

The dentist should participate in oral health education and should support and promote accepted measures to improve the oral health of the public.

  • should be respectful towards professional colleagues and staff

The dentist should behave towards all members of the oral health team in a professional manner and should be willing to assist colleagues professionally and maintain respect for divergence of professional opinion.

  • should act in a manner which will enhance the prestige and reputation of the profession.

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