Dentistry is undergoing a subtle shift away from being a profession to becoming a business. The two cultures of professionalism and business are contrasted. Among the forces driving this change are the emphasis on esthetics in dentistry and the increasing inability of a large class of patients to access dentistry on a business basis. The shift toward dentistry as a business entails the unhealthy transition toward regarding patients as means to satisfy the dentist's ends rather than patients' health being an end in itself. Dentists run the risk of "objectivifying" rather than "humanizing" patients. This trend must be overcome with a larger sense of purpose; placing dentist's self-interests within the larger context of enlightened self-interest.
Nash, David A., "A Larger Sense of Purpose: Dentistry and Society" (2007). Oral Health Science Faculty Publications. 16.