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Is the dental profession ready for person-centred care?


Introduction In the last decades, health professions have progressively moved towards person-centredness. Dentistry, however, lags behind the other health professions and remains deeply anchored in a biomedical vision.

Aims Our objective was thus to better understand how dentists perceived person-centred care (PCC) and identify the challenges they may face in implementing it.

Methods We conducted qualitative descriptive research in the province of Quebec, Canada; it was based on in-depth interviews with 11 general dental practitioners working in private clinics.

Results Thematic analyses reveal that dentists had little interest in understanding the life and stories of their patients. Furthermore, their openness to share decision-making was limited to procedures that they considered of relatively low value and less for procedures they considered of higher value, such as indirect restorations.

Discussion We argue that dentists' reluctance to understanding and shared decision-making is rooted in the old-established identity of dentistry as an art. Dentists indeed considered the dental craft as sacred - an art form with unbreakable axioms that defined quality of care.

Conclusion It is time for the dental profession to reflect on its ideological foundations and reconsider its identity. This reflection is crucial to respond to the needs of a changing society that is losing its confidence in the profession.

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Correspondence to Nareg Apelian.

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The authors declare to have no conflicts of interest. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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Apelian, N., Vergnes, JN. & Bedos, C. Is the dental profession ready for person-centred care?. Br Dent J 229, 133–137 (2020).

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