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Quintessence Int. 2018 Feb 26:313-324. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a39958. [Epub ahead of print]

Is liberal independent dental practice in danger? Assessing forms of dental practice in the European Regional Organization (ERO) zone of the FDI World Dental Federation.



A trend towards increasingly new forms of dental practice has been observed in the FDI World Dental Federation. Elementary foundations such as the free dentist and therapy choice, and independent, free, self-responsible professional practice may be undermined. The current study is aimed at analyzing the general training framework, organization, and professional types of dental practice in the European Regional Organization (ERO) zone and at critically discussing selected aspects of changes in the dental profession.


A questionnaire was developed by the ERO Working-Group "Liberal Dental Practice." Information about dental schools, professional organizations, dental practice regulations, and ambulatory healthcare centers was analyzed.


Self-employed dental practice is the most common type of practice (51.7%). Dentists are allowed to work independently immediately after graduation (72.7%). Approximately one-third are organized as compulsory members in chambers/corporations. The density of dentists has a mean of 1,570 inhabitants per dentist. In most countries, there are no special rules for founding dental ambulatory healthcare centers. In a total of 353 universities of the ERO countries surveyed, 16,619 dentists per year were trained, with a trend toward a higher percentage of female students (63%).


Despite modern forms of dental practice, the charter of the individual liberal dental profession (CED et al, 2013) should be respected and taken into account on the basis of ethical principles. The commercialization of the dental profession can be neutralized only by establishing and following well-defined ethical principles; oral healthcare quality can thus be ensured without the influence of third parties.


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