In dentistry one rarely deals with life-or-death decisionmaking,
however important human values are at stake
during the course of any dental treatment. These include
preventing pain, preserving and restoring oral function for
normal speech and eating, preserving and restoring the
patient's physical appearance, and promoting a sense of
control over and responsibility for his or her own health.
The dental management and treatment of children can
be challenging to the practicing dentist in many ways
including dealing with ethical issues related to the best
interests of the child, obtaining valid consent or assent,
surrogate decision making and access to care.