Consent in Dentistry

Consent in dentistry follows the same basic principles as in other disciplines of medicine. Normally there are a number of different options available to a patient and all of these should be discussed with the patient so they are able to give full consent.  Consent for routine dental examinations is consider to have been given by the fact that the patient has turned up for the appointment. 

What must a dentist tell you for consent to be valid? 

For consent to be valid a dentist must explain the proposed treatment to the patient including the risks involved and the possibility of any alternative treatment.   As there are often a number of different ways of treating a particular dental problem, the patient must understand all of the options available and be able to choose the treatment he/she would like.

If a general anaesthetic or sedation is required, all procedures must be explained to the patient. The dentist must ensure that all necessary information and explanations have been given, either personally or by the anaesthetist.  Before the procedure, the patient must be given clear pre-operative and post-operative instructions in writing and written consent must be obtained. 

If the treatment is over multiple visits then the dentist must check the patients' consent is still valid at each visit. 


Dental treatment consent for children

Children under the age of 16 can give consent to dental treatment if it the child in question is deemed to have the intelligence and competence to understand what the treatment involves.  The test for children under 16 to give consent is known as Gillick Competency and is used across all areas of medical consent.  In cases where a child is deemed not to be Gillick Competent, it is usually the person who holds parental responsibility that provides valid consent.

16 - 17 year olds are considered young adults and are able to give consent barring any mental capacity concerns. 

What happens if the Dentist has failed to obtain valid consent?

If a dentist or a member of the team has failed to obtain valid consent for treatment then it is possible that you have a claim for dental negligence. T G Baynes can pursue a Dental Compensation Claim on your behalf on a No Win No Fee (CFA) basis meaning that you pay effectively no legal costs should your claim fail on your behalf.  To contact us email us on or call 020 8301 7777

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