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Orthodontia is a dental practice that aims at preventing, diagnosing and treating facial and dental problems. The orthodontic profession tends to promote a high level of standards of conduct for those working in it. It plays a huge role in the safeguarding of patients’ health and preferences. It is vital to have in mind that moral principles in orthodontic practice do not remain the same, but keep on evolving. Most importantly, moral principles are influenced by different factors in the world including the continuous relationships between the orthodontist and the patient. Working as an intern in an orthodontist office with Dr. Hoss Abar as the supervisor has brought the issue of professional conduct and ethics in the field of practice. Orthodontists are required to fully understand their duties and responsibilities to their other colleagues and patients.

Every orthodontist is required to recognize as well as uphold all the principles that regulate his or her orthodontic practice. It would also be vital to keep in mind that every orthodontist should not make false or misrepresenting statements to his or her patients. Moreover, orthodontists should ensure that all the treatments follow full examination and the required diagnostic records during their course of duty. These and many other professional conduct practices and ethics will be considered in the paper. Ethical dilemmas might emerge during practice, hence the need to understand the most effective principles to follow in order to make everything successful. As stipulated earlier, the main objective of an orthodontist should be to safeguard, protect and provide patient’s safety and preferences. Contextual features, such as culture and financial factors, are also important during orthodontic practice. In other words, understanding the existing and changing professional conduct and ethics of orthodontists should be one of the ways towards efficiency and effectiveness of the practice.

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Ethical Features in Orthodontic Practice

Ethical features in orthodontic practice are crucial in fully understanding the whole profession. The ethical features include objectives of every action undertaken on the patient. All activities undertaken by an orthodontist should be aimed at protecting the patient from harm and benefiting that patient. Most importantly, such activities should be aimed at respecting the patients’ preferences. In order to improve confidence and trust of the people seeking for orthodontic services, an orthodontist should aim at safeguarding both health and safety of his or her patient, promoting dental welfare of the society at large and maintaining effective standards in all walks of life including professional and personal aspects. Moreover, one should not knowingly provide false or misleading information to the patients, third parties or the Dental Council. It should be done regardless of the patient’s gender, marital status, family conditions, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership. In attaining the objectives of orthodontic practice, one should try to provide care and treat patients in complete courtesy and respect.

However, certain ethical dilemmas might emerge in the course of attaining those objectives. At such a point, an orthodontist should note the best ways to overcome those dilemmas in order to ensure he or she follows the right path of his or her professionalism. Research has indicated that orthodontists encounter ethical dilemmas at some point in their lives. At that point, it is vital to consider that human welfare is at stake during their treatment. Human values, such as preventing pain, restoring oral functions in order to ensure normal speech and preserving oral functions should be considered whenever there is an ethical dilemma in orthodontic practice. Other human values include preserving as well as restoring a patient’s facial appearance and promotion of a sense of responsibility for the patient’s health. Ethical dilemma in orthodontic practice emerges whenever there are conflicting or moral uncertainties in moral obligations. The best ways to overcome those dilemmas are to understand the professional conduct and ethics of the American Dental Association and American Medical Association. Understanding them would help any orthodontist to make right choices in the best interest of the patient. Sometimes a patient may choose a way of treatment that he or she may consider being appropriate to him or her whilst the orthodontist believes that another way of treatment would best fit the patient. At such a point, the orthodontist is experiencing an ethical dilemma that requires him or her to act in the best way possible in order to protect the patient from harm, pain and safeguard the patient’s preferences.

An orthodontist should not encourage a patient to face treatment that is against his or her best interest. One should only carry out treatment that he or she can justify as effective and efficient to the patient. In the case of the dependent patients, such as a child, an orthodontist should follow the wishes of the patient or his or her guardian. It would also be vital to maintain effective communication with a patient before and during treatment in order to ensure that the patient understands the treatment plan or the diagnosis, all the likely outcomes along with costs of treatment. Accepting a patient for orthodontic services means that one should be able to complete the entire course of treatment using safe modes and to satisfaction of all standards of treatment. The orthodontist should also be prepared to answer any questions posed by a patient in a professional and open way that proves the orthodontist’s competence in the field. These are just some of many ethical features stipulated in the American Dental Association, which should be followed to the latter by an orthodontist in order to safeguard a patient’s welfare.

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Contextual Features in Orthodontic Field

Contextual features include factors that influence critical decisions in any practice. Contextual features are usually related to various situations in various undertakings meaning that understanding the contextual features would play a big role in carrying out effective and accurate actions. In orthodontic practice, every situation is influenced by huge issues that should be taken into consideration. Such contextual features in orthodontic practice include cultural background of the patient, social factors and financial or economic background of a patient among many others. In most cases, such contextual factors influence the patient’s treatment decisions. It is the duty of every orthodontist to ensure that the best treatments are provided to a patient with regard to his or her assumptions of the contextual features. In terms of cost estimates, it is required that an orthodontist provides all estimates for treatment in advance. In case the estimates require some adjustment as the treatment progresses, then the patient should be notified with a full explanation for any alteration.

Social determinants in orthodontist practice refer to the features by which the social situations influence health and decisions made by a patient. Most importantly, social factors tend to associate with biological factors along with personal factors at collective levels in order to form a person’s biology, risk behaviors, accessibility to resources as well as environmental exposures. Therefore, it is crucial for an orthodontist to understand the social background of every patient before beginning treatment. It is due to the fact that a patient’s social assumptions would influence his or her way of thinking and the type of treatment that he or she would consider best. It would also determine the patient’s attributes towards orthodontic treatments. Certain social influences include race, sex as well as education.

On the other hand, financial factors can be grouped under economic determinants. These would include the patient’s financial backgrounds and economic welfare. An orthodontist should be careful to determine and examine patients by considering their financial capabilities. It was mentioned that an orthodontist should be able to explain and justify all costs involved in treatment. Any adjustments on the costs should be justified by an orthodontist. Certain orthodontist treatments would require huge amounts of capital investment meaning that only patients with high financial incomes would be able to afford them. It would also be important to explain to the patients that expenses on their treatment would be highly dependent on the severity of their personal problems.

However, an orthodontist should ensure that all the financial policies within the practice are followed in the sense that they should fit the patient’s needs and financial arrangements. That can be considered in order to fit the patient’s diverse budgets, such as no down payments with monthly compensations done over the period of treatment. Accounting discounts have also been recommended in order to favor the patients that pay in full. It would also be crucial to consider if a patient has undertaken orthodontic insurance and provide him or her with the predetermination of benefits that would help the patient to decide on the most effective approach to his or her treatment. Such financial consideration would hugely influence the patient’s decisions in terms of his or her treatment approach. Every orthodontist should have it in mind before or during the treatment period.

Finally, are cultural considerations of the patient. Most patients would culturally consider beauty as a vital aspect. Appearance is one of the main results of an orthodontic practice. Therefore, it would be vital to involve a patient throughout the analysis and treatment process. Cultural considerations would also involve religion norms. For instance, a patient may feel that his or her front tooth protrudes excessively hence lacking a broad smile and according to his or her beliefs that deny him or her complete beauty. It would be a good reason to see an orthodontist in order to fix the patient’s arches and regain his or her beauty. Therefore, it is crucial for an orthodontist to consider cultural consideration of a patient before making a decision on the best approach of treatment. Moreover, not every patient would like his or her mouth to be examined. A good example would be refugees or immigrants, who can be confusing. In addition, some women might not consider it ethical for men orthodontists to examine their mouth. Understanding the patient’s cultural background would play a huge role in avoiding confusions and embarrassment during treatment.

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Ethical Commentaries for Orthodontists

People that read orthodontic literature on a regular basis have deep knowledge of continuous debate over treatments through a restorative perspective. In that way, the majority of the most influential clinicians and organizations have aired their concerns on aggressive treatments along with ethical issues involved in orthodontic treatments. It has become obvious that patients are aware of the ongoing esthetic solutions of fixing their teeth including use of indirect ceramic restorations. Research has indicated that orthodontics has continued to play huge roles in dentistry across the world. Much research has indicated that those people who have undergone orthodontist practice are satisfied with the treatment that they are able to get. Most of them tend to show dramatic changes in their facial as well as dental appearances.

Furthermore, the perceived requirement for treatment is usually affected by a patient’s social and cultural factors. However, it has become evident that the current need for orthodontic services highly exceeds the available resources. Moreover, the marked increases for both children and adults looking for orthodontic treatments have been noted across the world due to increased dental knowledge through public in conjunction with the social acceptance of braces. Just like physicians across the world, orthodontists are required to follow clear and updated moral obligations in order to ensure the patients’ interests and protect the patients’ information that might be confidential to them. In other words, all orthodontists should be able to demonstrate full professionalism in their field of practice. The works done in pediatrics and in other professions encounter ethical dilemmas that are related to the clients’ accessibility to services and surrogate decision making. Therefore, it is required that all orthodontists follow professional conduct and ethics during their practices.

Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, professional conduct and ethics are an important aspect of orthodontics. It is a broad topic of discussion that has undergone many changes since the field is evolving every time. Orthodontists are required to be acquitted with all professional conduct and ethics’ concepts in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in their field of practice. Throughout their practices, it is necessary to understand the features surrounding orthodontists in order to determine the best approaches in their actions. It is also crucial to note the contextual factors in their practice that would ensure that they make the right decisions regarding treatments of patients. Patients make treatment decisions after considering their different cultural backgrounds, financial capabilities, and societal issues. Moreover, an orthodontist should consider all the dental commentaries before embarking on treatment practices. Professional conduct and ethics of orthodontists play a vital role in enhancing continuous efficiency and effectiveness of the treatments that should be aimed at protecting a patient from harm, pain and safeguarding their preferences and interests. The American Dental Association has well-stipulated all the necessary standards and ethics of orthodontists. Therefore, regular review of those standards would help to maintain one’s responsibility as an orthodontist.