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
Information you should know about Voluntary Consent
What your dentist should tell you before 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 affect 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
A child of any age can agree to dental treatment as long as they understand the nature of the treatment and its consequences – even if the child’s parents or guardian refuses the treatment. However, if a child under 18 refuses dental treatment, then a parent or guardian can consent to the dental treatment on their behalf, if that treatment is in their best interests.
Dental Consent Claims
Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to make a claim if your dentist didn’t obtain your consent for the dental procedure. 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 have grounds for dental negligence.
Contact the Dental Law Partnership
If you feel you haven’t been given enough information about a dental treatment, or you didn’t provide your consent before a procedure, you could be able to make a claim. Accredited by Lexcel as an industry leader, the Dental Law Partnership have a successful track record when it comes to fighting for the compensation that’s deserved.