Dental Ethics

Welcome! Dental Ethics is an ever-growing collection of online courses, resources, and materials related to dental ethics—a type of ethics resource clearinghouse. The purpose Dental Ethics is to heighten ethical and professional responsibility, promote ethical conduct and professionalism in dentistry, advance dialogue on ethical issues, and stimulate reflection on common ethical problems in dental practice. Dental Ethics makes available courses, activities, and resources in dental ethics and professionalism to the dental community. Courses Online Dental Ethics (CODE) is a major section of Dental Ethics and consists of online courses and self-assessment activities in dental ethics and professionalism—with most available for C.E. credit. Other Dental Ethics resources include a program to assess the ethical climate of your practice and an interactive dental ethics application that is similar to an electronic textbook with interactive capability. The current sections of Dental Ethics include:

  • CODE– online courses designed to verse professors, students, hygienists, and practicing dentists in dental ethics and professionalism

  • PEAD– a series of self assessment exercises used to keep practicioners in tune with the ethical climate of their office and how to improve it

  • IDEA– a comprehensive digital dental ethics resource that has both interactive and multimedia capability


Dental Ethics was developed by the American College of Dentists. The first course of Courses Online Dental Ethics (CODE) is based on the Ethics Handbook for Dentists first published in 2000 by the American College of Dentists and depicted on the right (revised in 2012). Some courses are based on ethical dilemmas published in the Texas Dental Journal and used with permission. General inquiries about either CODE or the handbook should be directed to the American College of Dentists using the contact information above. The Ethics Handbook for Dentists is made available on a complimentary basis to educational institutions and other qualifying dental organizations (quantities may limited).

American College of Dentists

The American College of Dentists (ACD) is the oldest major honorary professional organization for dentists. Its members have exemplified excellence through outstanding leadership and exceptional contributions to dentistry and society. In response to serious problems facing the profession, the College was founded August 20, 1920, to elevate the standards of dentistry, to encourage graduate study, and to grant Fellowship to those who have done meritorious work. The College is nonprofit and apolitical, and has long been regarded as the “conscience of dentistry.”

The mission of the College is to advance excellence, ethics, professionalism, and leadership in dentistry. The following principles and objectives have been adopted in the furtherance of accomplishing the mission:

  1. To promote within the dental profession the highest ethical standards, stimulate interprofessional relationships, and urge upon the professional person recognition of one’s responsibility to participate in the affairs of society as a citizen of the community;
  2. To take an active role in the support of dental education and research;
  3. To encourage qualified persons to enter the profession of dentistry;
  4. To encourage graduate education and improve continuing educational efforts by dentists and auxiliaries;
  5. To encourage the free exchange of ideas and experiences in the interest of the patient;
  6. To foster the extension and improvement of measures for the prevention and control of oral disorders;
  7. To confer Fellowship in the College on individuals in recognition of meritorious achievement and their potential for contributions in dental science, art, education, literature, human relations, and other areas that contribute to human welfare and to give encouragement to them to further the objectives of the College.

To find out more about the American College of Dentists visit the ACD website,