It is a legal requirement that a dentist obtains consent from their patient before conducting any treatment. Many patients accept whatever treatment the dentist provides with very little question or understanding. Some dentists assume that patients are content to accept whatever treatment the dentist wishes to carry out as the ‘dentist knows best’, and some patients do prefer this – until the treatment goes wrong, that is.
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Valid consent is obtained if a dentist ensures that:
- The patient has been provided with necessary information (knowledge) regarding the proposed treatment, the risks involved and the alternative treatments
- The consent has been obtained voluntarily
- The patient has the competence (ability to understand) the nature, purpose and consequences of the proposed treatment
What your dentist should tell you before commencing treatment
Your dentist should advise you of the following prior to embarking upon any dental treatment:
- The nature and purpose of the proposed treatment
- The risks and benefits of that treatment
- The alternative treatment options with their risks/benefits
- The costs associated with each treatment option
- The potential consequences if no treatment is provided
What is Voluntary Consent?
Consent is only valid if it has been obtained without coercion or manipulation by the dentist.
The effect of Competence on Consent
A patient is competent to make a decision if they have the capacity to understand the information, to make a judgement about the information and to communicate that decision.
Dental Consent Forms
Signing a consent form does not mean that the dentist can carry out the proposed treatment. You still have to understand the proposed treatment and the treatment options available to you.
Child Consent for Dental Treatment
The issue of at what age a particular child is competent to consent to, or refuse, treatment is complex but the solicitors at the Dental Law Partnership are specialists in the area and will be pleased to help you with advice in this area; call us today on 0808 278 8202.