What is preventing dentists from providing person-centred care?

Nareg Apelian, Jean-Noel Vergnes, Richard Hovey, Christophe Bedos


Most healthcare professions have shifted the way they teach clinical approaches from a biomedical to a person-centred perspective. Yet, dentistry remains strongly anchored in a biomedical world.

The objective of this project was to understand the barriers practicing dentists face to provide what we consider person-centred care. We conducted a qualitative descriptive study that comprised semi-structured interviews with dentists in private practice in the Greater Montreal area.

After the analysis, we identified six barriers:

•     Fear of interpersonal conflict: participants thought that engaging in genuine conversations with patients would lead to situations of disagreement and even conflicts.

•     Fear of litigation: dentists considered that the legal and licensing infrastructure would judge the treatment they provide through a strict biomedical framework.

•     Fear of loss of money: participants thought that providing person-centred care was more time consuming and thus financially penalizing.

 •    Pleasure to excel technically: some dentists did not consider offering interventions that provided less procedural pleasure than technical ones.

•    Narrow interpretation of health: participants considered the biomedical dimension as the only important dimension.

•    Lack of information: participants knew nothing or very little about person or patient-centred care. They seemed willing to integrate it into their practice had they had known more about it.

These findings should help academic institutions to design their programs on person-centred care and respond to the fears expressed by professionals.

Also, legal infrastructures must recognize the paradigm shift from the biomedical to the person-centred. 


person-centred care, dentists

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26443/ijwpc.v5i1.165


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 International Journal of Whole Person Care

Published by McGill Library.

ISSN: 2291-918X, © McGill University Library