Informed Consent in Dentistry – When, Why and How

Informed Consent in Dentistry – When, Why and How
Jelena Roganović
Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Bioethica, 2021; 65 pp 147
Abstract
For dentists, as well as for other health care practitioners, it is mandatory to obtain informed consent from their patients, implying that a dialog has taken place and that patients understand the risks, benefits and alternatives to rendered treatments. Having in mind that majority of dental procedures are surgical in nature, leading to irreversible change to orofacial tissues and with the risk of unwanted side effects, well-documented informed consent process needs to be a basic norm in the dental practice. Clinical experience suggests that verbal discussion along with providing informed consent forms may not be enough and that patients response and understanding may improve by adding adjunctive materials like brochures or videos related to planned procedures. Many companies for implants and dental materials supply dental offices with the brochures and pamphlets, mostly for marketing purposes. Therefore, the use of these materials must be used with caution while objectively discussing other reasonable options. With the increasingly growing phenomenon of dental tourism, an important dentist-patient relationship ethical issues arise. Namely, issues regarding patient autonomy over practitioner choice, patient safety, and optimal care are under constant reconsideration while informed consent has to specify circumstances underlying treatment plan and posttreatment care. Currently, there is a paucity of information regarding informed consent in dentistry, and vital ethical issues associated with recent developments in dental practice need to be addressed in the near future.

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