[Quality dental care: a complex subject]

Rev Belge Med Dent (1984). 2008;63(3):108-24.
[Article in French]


Assessing the quality of dental care depends on the approach. From the patient's perspective the perception of the quality of care depends as much on the pure technical quality of the treatment as on the level of patient - doctor communication, organisation and administration experienced in relation to the treatment. From the point of view of the dental professionals who tend to focus primarily on outcome of treatment on the other hand, this way of patient's judging integrated quality of care might be quite frustrating. After all, thanks to verbal and organisational skills, making good impression despite bad diagnostic and treatment quality might come within reach of simply every dental professional. As desirable it might be, is it possible anyhow to measure if the ultimate quality of care meets the standards of care patients deserve? Certifying outcome of treatment is difficult since it depends on too much variables amongst which some (such as patient's compliance) might fall out of reach of control of the dental care professionals. That's why modern clinical guidelines and protocols stress on creating the ideal treatment steps and conditions most likely leading to the most favourable treatment result. Finally authorities and policymakers aspire more and more to the idea of indicators measuring clinical quality of care from a cost effectiveness point of view. In this respect the authors state that cheap high quality dental care for everybody has become out of date in the actual context. And defining limits to quality of care in order to gain affordability or accessibility, is going to be a tricky exercise requiring sound scientific thinking balanced with ethics.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Clinical Competence
  • Clinical Governance
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dental Care / standards*
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Evidence-Based Dentistry
  • Health Care Rationing
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Quality of Health Care*