Division of Practice Administration, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, 14 Ravencliffe Road, Thornhill, Ontario L3T 5N8, Canada. email@example.com
The purpose of this study was to explore the opinions that general dental practitioners in Ontario have regarding various situations that may be perceived as a conflict of interest. Standard quantitative analyses were employed to assess the association of attitudes and opinions concerning conflict of interest with gender, length of practice, and prior interpersonal communication, ethics, and religious training through a survey of general practice dentists in Ontario. Positive associations were found between the recognition of conflicts of interest and the number of years of dental practice, interpersonal communication training, and the reading of ethics-related articles in journals. Opinions vary on what is and is not a conflict of interest. Dental education has shaped a better understanding of these issues; however, for many dentists, previous education has not been totally adequate to guide them through conflict of interest situations. Age and mode and length of practice appear to have a direct effect on awareness of conflict of interest issues. Dentists need specific instruction and clearer direction regarding conflict of interest issues, so that they can better manage situations deemed to be conflicting and thereby earn and maintain patient trust in the profession.