Wish-fulfilling medicine and wish-fulfilling dentistry
SourceJournal of Dentistry, 96, (2020), article 103302
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Dentistry
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVES: to explain the practice of wish-fulfilling medicine and how it relates to dentistry. SOURCES: Relevant papers, and reports from authoritative institutions were identified in Pubmed and Google Scholar. RESULTS: Wish-fulfilling medicine refers to services provided by professionals using medical methods in a medical setting to address non-medical wishes of patients. Care-providers, medical industries, and health-insurance companies also contribute to wish-fulfilling in medicine and dentistry. Various concepts of health and illness compounded by blurred borders between health and illness offer an unstable foundation for wish-fulfilling medicine, and growing demands for these services where healthcare resources are limited can displace medically necessary treatments. Moreover, treatments without a medical or a dental necessity, can be harmful and bear the risk of futile or excessive treatments not in patients' long-term interest. Examples in dentistry are found in the field of cosmetic interventions, prosthodontics and orthodontics, where perceptions of small 'deviations' from normality prompt wishes or recommendations for intervention. Ethically, wish-fulfilling services confront the principles of the common morality if the autonomy of a patient is compromised, beneficence is unclear, harm is foreseeable, or distributive justice is compromised. Wish-fulfilling dental treatment can be restricted by legislation if it conflicts with safe, effective and efficient care, or if it interferes with patient's real needs or undermines established professional standards. CONCLUSIONS: The general understanding of wish-fulfilling medicine including its ethical and legal themes is relevant to dentistry. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Ethical considerations and legislation can guide a dentist to reflect critically on clinical decisions regarding wish-fulfilling dentistry.
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