Information and making up a decision at pediatric dentistry clinic: a bioethical focus

  • Ana Carolina Scarpelli
  • Karina Teixeira Bonanato
  • Maria Letícia Ramos-Jorge
  • Patrícia Maria Pereira de Araújo Zarzar
  • Saul Martins Paiva
  • Isabela Almeida Pordeus


Respecting a patient’s autonomy implies informing him/her as to the treatment proposals, benefits and risks so that he/she can comprehend and actively participate in the process. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to verify if parents/guardians receive clarifications regarding the dentistry treatment of their 4 to 12-year-old children treated at a public service clinic in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The sample was made up of 63 parents/guardians interviewed with the use of a structured form. The chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test with 5% significance were adopted for the statistical analysis, using the SPSS 10.0 software program. The results reveal that 79.4% of the guardians confirmed having received information regarding their child’s treatment, and such information was considered satisfactory. In relation to self-judgment, 93.7% of the respondents stated having knowledge regarding the treatment the dental surgeon was performing and 60.3% said that they have participated of the treatment decision. However, when asked about the procedure, just 30.2% responded correctly. There were no statistically significant differences when associating clarification with age (p = 0.355), family relation (p = 0.747), level of schooling (p = 0.472) and economic level of the parents/guardians (p = 0.725). We conclude that the majority of parents/guardians demonstrated not to be duly informed as to the dentistry treatment of their underage children, which suggest that they did not satisfactorily exercise their autonomy.
UNITERMS: personal autonomy; bioethics; pediatric dentistry.
Original Article