Informed Consent for Dental Procedures
Informed Consent – Is it Required for Dental Procedures?
Before undergoing a certain dental procedure, your dentist will inform you regarding the process involved, the advantages, disadvantages, the risks and alternative treatments.
Informed Consent is a document detailing the information mentioned and the patient signs it before the procedure.
All states require this signed document before treatment is given. It protects the patient from unwanted procedures. You are in control of what care is given.
The Discussion of Informed Consent
With informed consent, you are guaranteed a full understanding of the procedure performed. This is an important tool in managing expectations for the outcomes of the treatment.
It also reduces the possibility of patients filing lawsuits to medical professionals. The information has several components which are:
1. Nature of the proposed treatment:
- Time element
2. Viable alternatives to the treatment suggested.
3. The foreseeable risks of the treatment.
You should expect the dental staff to do the following when obtaining an informed consent:
- The language used can be understood easily.
- You can ask questions regarding treatment before signing the document.
- The dental professionals should assess if you have fully understood the risks, costs and alternative treatments before signing up. They should offer more explanation if you needed more information.
The Types of Informed Consent
It can either be written, recorded or verbally spoken. It is a process in which verbal interaction is a necessity. Signed and written documents are required by some states.
If the patient is a minor, the parent or the legal guardian should sign. The consent should have a date, and a witness should also sign, which is usually another member of the dental staff.
This is another concept where the implication of the consent depends on the actions of the patient. For instance, you show up at the dentist with a toothache. An examination is done, and an x-ray is needed.
Here, you were informed about the procedure necessary and allowed it without any objections. The consent was implied by your actions or nonaction. You were aware of the problem and did not object when the radiograph began.
During emergencies, this concept is also applied. Emergency situations allow dental professionals to provide services without your consent to protect life or for your benefit.
When to Discuss the Consent
An explanation should take place before the procedure takes place. This way you have the time to ask the dental staff for clarifications and questions.
Can I Refuse to Sign?
Competent patients have the right to refuse a procedure. If you choose to go against the recommendations of your dentist, they will ask the reason behind your decision.
If your refusal is based on side effects and performance of the interventions, the staff will address your concerns. An informed refusal is documented in this case.
An informed consent is a way of communicating to patients about specific procedures in a manner they understand. If you have questions while the dental staff is explaining the process, feel free to voice your concerns and issues.