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Failure to obtain patient consent

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.

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

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What your dentist should tell you before commencing treatment

Your dentist should advise you of the following prior to embarking upon any dental treatment:

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.

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    If your enquiry is about a claim, we are only able to process claims for dental negligence that occurred in England or Wales

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    Why might you make a dental negligence consent claim?

    Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to make a claim if your dentist didn’t obtain your consent for the dental procedure they carried out. A consent case can be spread over a number of dental visits and time periods, but your dentist must ensure you are fully aware of what your treatment entails, at all times. You’re able to make a claim if you have been given the wrong advice by your dentist, potentially ending up in injury. Additionally, if you haven’t been given the full options of what treatment is available, this could be grounds for dental negligence.

    Does it make a difference to consent claims if the dental treatment is NHS or private?

    It doesn’t make any difference to the legal obligation of your dentist to seek your voluntary consent from you before treatment, regardless of whether you are seeing an NHS or private dentist. They must still ensure that you understand the treatment and what it involves, as well as explaining any risks or other options available to you. If they fail to do this, they are considered to have acted negligently and you might be able to claim compensation.

    How much dental negligence compensation could I get for a consent claim?

    As with any type of dental negligence claims, the amount of compensation that you may receive if your dentist has failed to obtain the necessary consent before treating you, will depend on the circumstances of your specific case. Factors taken into consideration could include:

     

    • The nature and length of treatment involved that you didn’t consent to
    • Any poor results or dental problems that the treatment caused, especially as a result of you not understanding the procedure fully
    • Whether an alternative treatment (that wasn’t offered due to your dentist’s negligence) would have been better suited in your circumstances

    At Dental Law Partnership, our team of expert Dental Negligence solicitors are on hand to help you with your potential consent claim; call us today.