ETHICAL ISSUES IN CURRENT ORTHODONTIC PRACTICE. CASE REPORT
Orthodontic practice as any other dental and medical specialty is covered by certain fundamental ethics which will be taken strictly in consideration and strictly respected. When treating children, important ethical issues may arise relating to the best interests of the child and medical decisions making for minors. In this study we present the case of a 14-year-old girl whose parents refused extraction of four permanent teeth required for treating her Angle Class II/2 malocclusion. The parents believed the extraction of permanent teeth would have a negative impact on masticatory efficiency. As the parents decided to postpone the orthodontic treatment for another 2 years, their daughter’s dental status worsened. Ethical dilemmas include the conflict between the orthodontist obligation to the child and the need to respect parental autonomy. Assessing the ethical aspects of a case is needed to have a clear view of the benefits or burdens of possible treatment as well as the consequences of no treatment. When the patient returned 2 years later for orthodontic treatment, the treatment plan had to be changed due to the worsening of the dental status of 2 permanent molars. The orthodontist should take the responsibility for promoting the patients’ interests and protect the patients from harm. He should take specific steps to ensure that needed care is actually received.
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