School of Dentistry Honor Codes

Standards of Professional Conduct

(Approved by the Faculty of the School of Dentistry: 3/12/2018; Curator approval 4/2018)


Through decades of experience, education, and service, the dental and dental hygiene professions have earned the trust of patients and the public at large. This trust represents a unique relationship which, when valued and upheld, establishes the very real bond that exists when a dental professional is asked to provide patient care. Trust demands the dentist and dental hygienist place the needs of the patient ahead of their own interests. The beginnings of this intrinsic trust are developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry is committed to providing excellent dental care. Students* in the dental, dental hygiene and advanced education programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the high ethical standards required of health professionals.  Graduates will be required to take responsibility for the health and well-being of their patients and are expected to demonstrate patterns of behavior that are consistent with professional standards and deserving of the public’s trust. 

These Standards of Professional Conduct are drawn from the Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct of the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Code of Ethics.  Students should aspire to meet the high ideals of their professions, which may exceed their legal duties, but must meet the baseline standards expressed in the School of Dentistry’s Standards of Professional Conduct.  The School of Dentistry faculty should be effective advisors and mentors in the process of growth in this vital area.  The matriculation process affords the opportunity to learn together, support one’s colleagues and encourage growth through challenges.  

The following Standards of Professional Conduct articulate expectations of UMKC School of Dentistry students during the time you spend in the school as you transition into your practice of the profession of dentistry or dental hygiene. Maturation, discernment, and wisdom will be needed as you assume the role of dentist or dental hygienist.

1. Nonmaleficence – Do No Harm: the student strives to first do no harm.

a. Patients are treated according to the School of Dentistry’s Standards of Care, and their preferences and desires must be considered in treatment decisions.

b.  No harm or potential harm is done to the patient either through intent, ignorance, lack of preparation for the patient encounter, lack of skill, or personal impairment of any kind.

c. No patient is “abandoned,” which is defined as discontinuance of care without just cause and without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another provider.

2. Veracity & Fidelity: the student maintains high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity.

a. The student is honest during didactic, preclinical, and clinical communications, assignments and evaluations.

b. The student will not engage in, facilitate or permit unfair advantage by utilizing unauthorized aids or by assisting another student during a didactic, preclinical, or clinical evaluation in a manner not prescribed by the instructor. 

c. The student will not alter, forge, falsify, or fabricate information, documentation, or service.

d. The student maintains confidentiality of patient information.

e. The student strives to attain high levels of competence, admit errors and faulty treatment to faculty, and does not knowingly mislead others or promote oneself at the expense of others.

f.  The student comes to class, lab, and clinic prepared so that the time can be maximized and patient care is optimally provided.

3. Responsibility and Sense of Duty: the student fulfills duties and obligations of the profession of dentistry and dental hygiene which are expected by the public.

a. The student becomes familiar with and adheres to the codes of ethics promoted by the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association

b. The student’s responsibility parallels the responsibility of professional practitioners who maintain high professional standards by holding each other accountable.

c. The student maintains professional provider-patient relationships.

d. The student is dedicated to helping patients, colleagues, the profession, and society to reach their maximal potential.

e. The student maintains quality of care while addressing conflicts of interest.

f. The student engages in personal and professional conduct that reflects positively on the UMKC School of Dentistry and the profession.

g. The student strives to uphold the dignity and respect of the profession of dentistry by his or her dress, personal appearance, conduct, and conversation.

4. Justice and Respect for the Rights of Others: the student respects the rights, privileges, and property of other members of the School of Dentistry, the University, and the professions of dentistry and dental hygiene. 

a. The student deals with faculty, staff, peers, and patients in a dignified, considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation.

b. The student views and treats all people encountered in an academic, clinical or cyberspace capacity equally in regards to liberties, rights, respect, acceptance, and opportunities.

c. The student places the patient’s welfare (i.e., the provision of competent and timely delivery of dental care within the bounds of clinical circumstances as presented by the patients, such as needs, desires and values) as paramount, taking precedence above all else.  This also includes the obligation to a) identify and report perioral or other signs of abuse and neglect, and to consult with faculty to report suspected cases to proper authorities as required by law; and b) report instances of faulty treatment, whether intentional or not, to the appropriate faculty member.

d. All standards and requirements of patient care established by the School of Dentistry are followed at all times.

e. The student submits his or her own original work in a manner prescribed by the instructor and with the expectation that the grade reflects only that student’s achievement.

f. The student is respectful toward the learning process and to those involved with it.

g. No student shall create a disruption in the learning process through behaviors that are not conducive to an academic and patient care environment.

h. The student respects the ideas and words of others by attributing the quoted or paraphrased portions to their original sources.

In addition to the conduct detailed in the preceding sections, a student is subject to the University of Missouri Student Conduct Code (Section 200.010) as administered by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs / Dean of Students (except for provisions dealing with academic dishonesty which fall within the School of Dentistry Standards of Professional Conduct).

Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe that a student has acted unethically, or is in violation of law or policy, is obligated to take action by asking the violator to refrain from the behavior, and/or if not satisfactorily addressed by the violator or severity calls for further action, to bring the matter forward to a supervisor, or the Associate Dean for Student Programs or his/her designee.  The Assistant/Associate Dean for Student Programs or his/her designee will follow the process identified in the Procedures for Violations of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to determine whether there has been a violation and whether charges/sanctions should be brought.  Violations for advanced education or graduate students in regards to the Standards of Professional Conduct will be monitored through the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Programs and the Advanced Education Committee.

*Student Defined:  In this document, “student” shall refer to any person having once been admitted to the School of Dentistry who has not completed a course of study and who intends to or does continue a course of study in or through the School of Dentistry.  For the purpose of these rules, student status continues whether or not the University’s academic programs are in session. Portions of the above standards language is adapted with permission from the Creighton University School of Dentistry Honor Code, ©2015-2016