Informed consent, essential in the delivery of health care, is the process by which a health care practitioner provides relevant information about diagnosis and treatment needs to a patient so he can make a voluntary and educated decision to pursue or refuse care. For minors and adults with intellectual disabilities, parents (as defined within this document) are authorized to provide or decline permission for treatment. Dentists must inform patients/parents about oral health conditions observed and the nature, risks, and benefits of recommended and alternative treatments, including no treatment. While young children do not possess the cognitive ability to participate in the informed consent discussion, older children and adolescents can participate and assent to care.
Dental providers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the applicable laws and regulations in their state with respect to informed consent in health care. Although laws may differ, obtaining consent in writing before commencing treatment is recommended as it may reduce liability due to any miscommunication. Guidance regarding written consent forms is included. However, a conversation between the dental provider and patient/parent, not just completing a form, is the key component of obtaining informed consent.
This document was developed through a collaborative effort of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Councils on Clinical Affairs and Scientific Affairs to offer updated information and guidance in obtaining informed consent for pediatric oral health care.
KEYWORDS: INFORMED CONSENT, CONSENT FORMS, INFORMED CONSENT FORMS, INFORMED CONSENT BY MINORS, DOCUMENT, INFORMED CONSENT