Maximizing Beneficence and Autonomy. Ethical Support for the Use of Nonpharmacological Methods for Managing Dental Anxiety
Shane, Nicholas J
The Journal of the American College of Dentists 2010 Fall; 77(3): 26-34
This article examines advantages associated with nonpharmacological behavioral management techniques and suggests that there are benefits to their use (such as achieving a more lasting solution to the problem of dental anxiety) that are not realized with medication-based interventions. Analyses that use Kantian and existential viewpoints for exploring the use of medication versus behavioral interventions for managing life problems yield parallel conclusions: there are advantages gained by using behavioral interventions that are not always associated with medication-based interventions. These analyses, taken together with an understanding of the psychology of dental anxiety management, suggest that using nonpharmacological techniques for the management of dental anxiety can maximize adherence to the ethical principles of beneficence and patient autonomy. The authors discuss the barriers that make nonpharmacological interventions for anxiety management difficult for dentists to routinely use, and suggest that additional training in these methods and increased collaboration with mental health professionals are needed for dentists.
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