Medical College of Wisconsin
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Maximizing beneficence and autonomy. Ethical support for the use of nonpharmacological methods for managing dental anxiety. J Am Coll Dent 2010;77(3):26-34



Pubmed ID


Scopus ID

2-s2.0-79953020312   1 Citation


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.

Author List

Donate-Bartfield E, Spellecy R, Shane NJ


Evelyn Donate-Bartfield PhD Associate Professor in the Marquette University School of Dentistry department at Marquette University
Ryan Spellecy PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Adaptation, Psychological
Anti-Anxiety Agents
Attitude of Health Personnel
Attitude to Health
Behavior Control
Behavior Therapy
Clinical Competence
Dental Anxiety
Dental Care
Dentist-Patient Relations
Mind-Body Therapies
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Personal Autonomy
Psychoanalytic Theory
Referral and Consultation
Self Efficacy
Time Factors
jenkins-FCD Prod-387 b0ced2662056320369de4e5cd5f21c218c03feb3