Professionalism with Patients

A positive and professional relationship between a patient and their dentist is critical to the success of diagnosis and treatment. We have produced a Practice Advisory on Maintaining a Professional Patient-Dentist Relationship which offers guidance to dentists. 

Dentists have an obligation to develop, maintain and foster a successful relationship with their patient. This can be achieved with good communication skills, making efforts to understand the patient’s point of view and providing accessibility accommodations. When best practices are followed, patients are more likely to collaborate with their dentist and follow instructions. 

Ideally, the patient and the dentist respect each the other; mutual respect and excellent communication will always provide the best results, including timely access to care and continuity of care.

There is a power imbalance between a patient and dentist: the dentist has knowledge, experience and expertise that the patient does not. Dentists have a responsibility to provide their best advice, in a clear manner that is easily understood by the patient and enables patients to make decisions about their dental care that best meet their needs.

From time to time, challenges may arise in the patient-dentist relationship. We expect dentists to make a concerted effort to solve problems and rebuild relationships. If those efforts fail, a formal and respectful process must be followed to end the relationship must be followed.