The FDI World Dental Federation has debuted its Dental Ethics Manual, a code of conduct aimed at providing guidelines on ethical considerations for dental professionals.
The guide was launched at the FDI World Dental Congress in Dubai.
Written largely by Professor John Williams, a former director of ethics at the Canadian Medical Association, the manual is designed as an ethical textbook for under- and postgraduate dental programmes, and as a guide for practising dental professionals.
Its unveiling is seen as a bid to streamline international best practice across the profession.
Dr Michele Aerden, president of the FDI World Dental Federation, branded the guide ‘an imperative contribution towards developing a fully comprehensive schooling for dentists'.
"Dental education and training will never be complete unless the curricula of dental schools incorporate a course on dental and medical ethics," she said. "The FDI trusts that this manual will become a source of reference for dental students and practitioners alike."
The manual is not designed as a legally binding rulebook for dentists, Aerden added, but as a set of principles that can be taken into consideration.
The Federation hopes the text will help towards improving the reliability and professionalism of the industry, in the eyes of the general public.
"This manual does not list what is right and what is wrong, but provides values and practical examples that will give food for thought and will guide practitioners in making sound ethical decisions in the best interests of their patients," Dr Aerden said.
Commenting on the launch, Dr Ahmed Al Banna, deputy chairman of the organising committee, FDI Dubai 2007, said: "It is a great privilege that the first FDI dental ethics manual was unveiled during the Congress in Dubai. We are confident that the manual will help professionals in shaping the future of dental practice."
The Dental Ethics Manual is divided into six chapters. Topics include principal features of dental ethics; dentists and patients; dentists and society; dentists and colleagues; ethics and research; the responsibilities of dentists and the future of dental ethics.