Deciding about patients' requests for extraction: ethical and legal guidelines

Dyonne L M Broers*, Wolter G Brands, Jos V M Welie, Ad de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: and Overview. Dentists frequently are faced with patients' requests for an extraction, sometimes of the entire dentition. In this article, the authors offer guidelines to help dentists and oral surgeons make decisions regarding such requests for extraction.

CONCLUSIONS: In most cases of patients' requesting extractions, the ethical principle of nonmaleficence will play a decisive role in the dentist's decision making. In cases in which the request appears influenced by a specific mental condition such as a phobia of dental treatment, extraction rarely is justifiable. Practice Implications. Dental professionals should keep in mind that they cannot be forced to carry out treatment that is at odds with the ethical principle of nonmaleficence or that is outside of the bounds of accepted treatment. To aid dentists in making treatment decisions in such cases, the authors present a flowchart that integrates possible considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders/psychology
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Decision Making
  • Dental Anxiety/psychology
  • Dental Care/standards
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Dentists/ethics
  • Disclosure
  • Ethics, Dental
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Mental Competency/legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Rights/legislation & jurisprudence
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Refusal to Treat/ethics
  • Social Values
  • Somatoform Disorders/psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology
  • Tooth Extraction/ethics

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