Ethical proceedings against dentists in Espírito Santo for infringements to the code of dental ethics

Just like any other profession, dentistry requires ethical and moral responsibilities that must be fulfilled, and the duty of every professional is to meet his obligations under the law. In light of the Código de Ética Odontológica (CEO - Code of Dental Ethics), this research aims to expound on the ethical violations committed by dentists in their practice, according to the ethical review process proposed by the Conselho Regional de Odontologia do Estado do Espírito Santo (CRO/ES - Regional Council of Dentistry of the State of Espírito Santo). The study is both retrospective and descriptive, using a quantitative approach. Data collection comprised all the ethical proceedings filed at the CRO/ES, between the years 2000 and 2011. Considering the 529 cases examined, the most frequent reason for infringement was illicit advertising (39.7%), followed by technical error (18.7%), irregular registration (16.8%), patient/professional relationship (11.3%) tax lien foreclosure (6.6%), professional/professional relationship (4.0%), irregular/illegal cover up practice (0.9%), consumer relations (0.8%), failure to provide care (0.6%), false certification (0.4%), and disrespect for authority and colleagues (0.2%). Most (59.2%) of the dental surgeons (DSs) involved were male, 35.5% were between 31 and 40 years of age, 85.8% had graduated over five (5) years prior, and 73.2% were general practitioners. Only 22 (4.2%) cases went to trial, resulting in 8 (36.4%) acquittals and 14 (63.6%) convictions. The most commonly applied penalties were private warning + pecuniary penalty (8 or 57.1%). It was concluded that the CEO must be followed with more discipline, and that professionals should seek information about their duties and obligations under the law, on behalf of patient welfare.