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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    In dentistry, the dentist - patient interaction often represents a long-term, close personal relationship that involves friendship as well as professional responsibility. A professional (the dentist) has two interests to consider in any professional interpersonal dentist - patient relationship: the patient's and his or her own. The dentist has a duty to place the patient's best interest (welfare) before his or her own interests. The profession and society expect dentists to exercise superior knowledge and expertise and their professional judgment to promote the best interests of their patients. Dentists should not use their position of influence to solicit or develop romantic relationships with patients. The Health Professions Council of South Africa views sexual contact between health professionals and patients as unethical, legally perilous and as a cause for professional discipline. It is often viewed by the public as an outrageous transgression. The ethical considerations of personal relationships with patients are addressed in the HPCSA guidelines to good practice, Section 5.2 'Respect for Patients', which states that health care practitioners should "Avoid improper relations with their patients, their patients' friends and their patients' family members (for example, sexual relationships or exploitative financial agreements)".