Ethics Handbook for Dentistry

Ethical Desicion-Making Models

Decision Model I

Step 1
Determine the Alternatives
Determine that there is clarity and agreement on all relevant facts.

Step 2  
Determine the Ethical Considerations
Consider the ethical implications of each alternative. Identify the ethical principles involved and determine the role of beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice. Determine the balance of good over harm.

Step 3
Determine the Considered Judgments of Others
Consider what your colleagues have concluded in similar situations. Consider codes of dental ethics, other codes, and views of other organizations.

Step 4
Rank the Alternatives
Try to determine which alternative best satisfies the ethical requirements of the case. Select the course of action that best resolves the conflicts.

Decision Model II

Step 1
After identifying an ethical question facing you, gather the dental, medical, social, and all other clinically relevant facts of the case.

Step 2
Identify all relevant values that play a role in the case and determine which, if any, conflict.

Step 3
List the options open to you. That is, answer the question, “What could you do?”

Step 4
Choose the best solution from an ethical point of view, justify it, and respond to possible criticisms. That is, answer the question, “What should you do, and why?”

Decision Model III

Step 1
Identifying the Alternatives
What courses of action are available? What are their likely outcomes? To what other choices are they likely to lead? How likely are such outcomes and such future choices?

Step 2
Determining What Is Professionally at Stake
What ought and ought not to be done professionally?

Step 3
Determining What Else Is Ethically at Stake
What other ethical considerations apply to the action being considered?

Step 4
Determining What Ought to be Done
Rank the successful alternatives. The best alternative is done; equal alternatives require choice.

American College of Dentists Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The American College of Dentists (ACD) acknowledges our history. ACD actively promotes social justice, challenges discrimination, and addresses disparities and inequities. ACD is commited to being an inclusive, diverse, and equitable organization that respects and values our Fellows, staff, and the communities we serve. We provide a safe environment for all community members to engage in respectful dialogue, learning, and interaction. ACD’s strength lies in the diversity of its Fellows and the communities it serves. We embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to ensure a relevant and sustainable organization that delivers value to Fellows, prospective Fellows, patients, and stakeholders.

Social Media Guidelines

In fulfilling the ACD’s mission and adhering to the four pillars, the ACD uses Social Media to build relationships with Fellows and the broader oral health community, the media and the public. Our use of Social Media enables ACD to communicate with and educate our various audiences about oral health issues and trends as they affect ethics and professionalism, and to ensure that the perspectives and needs of our Fellows are clearly articulated and understood. Proper use of social media allows ACD to build networks, share information and engage in dialogue.  When posting on behalf of ACD, staff, Regents and Fellows should adhere to the following guidelines and practices:

  • Strive for accuracy and truthfulness
  • Add Value
  • Be transparent and accountable
  • Do not share private information about others especially patients
  • Be respectful, collegial, and professional
  • Distinguish between facts and opinion
  • Adhere to all terms of use and service for any social media platform with which you are engaging
  • Follow all applicable local and federal laws, including copyright laws