Open Access Short Communication

Uncertainty as an Oral Health Professional: Beginning with Recognizing the Reality

Charles F Shuler* and HsingChi von Bergmann

Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Corresponding Author

Received Date: April 05, 2021;  Published Date: April 21, 2021


When a patient encounters an oral health care professional, what is their expectation with respect to the certainty of the clinician with respect to the diagnosis and recommendations for treatment? The patient most likely expects the clinician to be certain of the diagnosis and that the options for treatment are appropriate for that diagnosis. During the Informed consent process a patient will frequently say, “What do you think would be best, doctor?” Notice that the patient asks “would be best” because the patient has uncertainty due to the lack of professional expertise with respect to the diagnosis and treatment. The patient expects the clinician as an expert to be certain concerning the ‘best’ choices for oral health care. The question becomes, what process does the oral health professional follow to meet that expectation? There are many potential points of uncertainty in the diagnostic process and developing a process to address each area of uncertainty, we argue, should be a critical competency in an oral health professional programs. This paper discusses what, why, and how oral health professionals develop a process that can guide them in uncertain clinical situations.

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