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The only way is ethics

Ethical issues of prioritising cosmetic demands over treatment needs were explored at this year's Rural Dental Conference at Maesmawr Hall, mid Wales.

Around 100 delegates, representing dentists and dental teams, attended the annual conference, titled Œ'The only way is ethics'.

With patients increasingly prioritising cosmetic demands over treatment needs, the conference probed some of the most pressing ethical issues that affect modern dental professionals.

Speakers drawn from leading clinicians in the field included Professor Nichola Rumsey, professor of appearance research at the University of the West of England; Professor Kevin O'Brien (pictured far right), professor of orthodontics at the University of Manchester; Dr Aws Alani (pictured right centre), resortive consultant at King's College Hospital, London and Professor Gail Douglas (pictured left centre), professor of dental public health at the University of Leeds.

'There are frequent stories of the lengths to which some people go to attain what sometimes seems a distorted idea of an improvement in appearance,' said Mr Charles Vaughan-Jones (pictured centre), post-graduate dental tutor for rural Wales.

'However, behind every surgical intervention is clearly a willing surgeon whose training is primarily in the treatment of disease.

'At the same time, perfect body imaging is portrayed in every media and young people are starting to become more and more concerned over their, often imagined, physical shortcomings.

'The conference underlined how serious the situation is and opened the discussion into our role and responsibilities as dental professionals in guiding our patients into the best possible choices, taking into account all aspects of their welfare.'

In addition, Julie Rosse (pictured far left), president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, outlined the changes involved in implementing direct access, a legal innovation by which patients can see either of these two groups without being referred by a dental surgeon.

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