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General Principles of Ethical Practice

EthicalThe dental profession is a self-regulated profession for which the General Dental Council (GDC) [1] sets the standards against which dental teams are judged. The GDC has produced Standards for the Dental Team [2] that details nine principles that dental professionals must adhere to. These principles form the basis of sound ethical practice, and applying these principles to everyday dental practice will ensure that dental teams protect the interests of patients and obtain the respect and trust of their patients, peers and the public.

Comply with GDC standards by:

  • putting the patient’s interests first;
  • communicating effectively with patients;
  • obtaining valid consent;
  • maintaining and protecting patients’ information (see Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information);
  • having a clear and effective complaints procedure;
  • working with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests;
  • maintaining, developing and working within your professional knowledge and skills;
  • raising concerns if patients are at risk; and
  • making sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession.

As recommended by the GDC, undertake continuing professional development on ethical issues.

Refer to GDC Standards guidance for more information [2].

Sources of Information

  1.  General Dental Council
  2. Standards for the Dental Team. General Dental Council (2013)  (www.gdc-uk.org/professionals/standards)