The standard of care in dentistry: Where did it come from? How has it evolved?

J Am Dent Assoc. 2004 Oct;135(10):1449-55. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2004.0056.


Background: The author explores the topic of the standard of care. He reviews the initial application of the standard to health care professionals, as well as its evolution from an 1898 legal case in which 10 elements of the standard of care were stated.

Conclusions: The standard of care continually evolves with the advent of new materials, new procedures and new court rulings. Before applying the standard of care, dentists should consider new available treatments, as well as their state's current interpretation of the standard of care.

Practice implications: The standard of care should be applied to all dentists when patients claim alleged malpractice. It should be tempered by changes in the practice of dentistry, which dentists should be aware of.

MeSH terms

  • Dental Care / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Dental Care / standards*
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Jurisprudence
  • Malpractice
  • Quality of Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States