Humanizing clinical dentistry through a person-centred model

Main Article Content

Nareg Apelian
Jean-Noel Vergnes
Christophe Bedos


The clinical approach in dentistry stems from a biomedical model of health that is anchored in positivism. This biomedical model was never explicitly developed or reflected on, but rather implicitly acquired as a product of historical circumstance. A reductionist understanding of health served dentistry well in the past, when health afflictions were mostly acute. Today, however, in the age of chronic illnesses, the current clinical approach is no longer adequate: patients and dentists are both dissatisfied, and there are problems with dental education and dental public health.


After a thorough review of the literature, highlighting the current state of the profession, we propose an alternative clinical model upon which updated approaches can be based. We call this model "Person-Centred Dentistry". Our proposed model is rooted on the notion of sharing of power between the dentist and the patient: a sharing of power in the relationship and epistemology. This leads to an expanded understanding of the person and the illness; a co-authoring of treatment plans; and interventions that focus not only on eliminating disease but also on patient needs.


Article Details

How to Cite
Apelian, N., Vergnes, J.-N., & Bedos, C. (2014). Humanizing clinical dentistry through a person-centred model. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(2).
Empirical Studies
Author Biographies

Nareg Apelian, McGill University

Faculty Lecturer

Jean-Noel Vergnes, CHU de Toulouse, Service d’Odontologie / UFR d’Odontologie de Toulouse

Adjunct professor

Division of Oral Health and Society

Faculty of Dentistry

Christophe Bedos, Division of Oral Health and Society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University Ecole de Sante Publique, Universite de Montreal

Associate Professor


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