Most people associate consent forms with complex medical procedures such as life-saving surgeries. However, you may also need to fill out a consent form for dental procedures such as tooth extraction, implants, and crowns. Any dental procedure that's classified as surgical in nature will require consent from the patient.
Consent forms are primarily meant to legally protect the surgeon from being accused of improperly administering treatment. However, these forms are more valuable than that. They contain important information that helps you understand details about your upcoming procedure.
When you receive a consent form for an upcoming dental surgery, here's what you should carefully read through.
1. A description of the procedure being done
The consent form will contain a section where your dentist explains steps to be carried out during the dental procedure. These steps may be explained in detail or may be broken up into bullet/numbered points. Regardless of format, make sure you can easily follow up on all the steps being explained.
You don't have to understand every word, but you should be familiar with how long the procedure will take, recovery time and expected results. Also feel free to clarify any steps with your dentist before undergoing surgery.
The consent form should also explain why this procedure is necessary. For example, tooth extraction may be important to address a fractured tooth, decay, overcrowding or gum disease. Each patient will have their own reasons for undergoing a tooth extraction, and the consent form should explain these reasons to the patient.
In addition, the form should outline what your intended results are and how undergoing dental surgery will help.
3. Any potential risks and side effects
Very few surgeries are 100 percent safe. There are always potential side effects that can happen as a result of dental surgery. The consent form should explain some of the biggest risks and side effects and provide a brief risk-reward analysis.
For example, dental implants may result in jaw pain and infection of nearby teeth in a small number of patients. This should be disclosed in the consent form, as well as measures your dentist will take to minimise such risks.
4. A consent declaration
After all details of the procedure have been disclosed, the consent form will end with a declaration section. This section allows you to sign off and provide legal consent to your dentist for the procedure specified. It may also contain a section for parents/guardians to sign off for underage children.
You should feel comfortable granting consent for the dental surgery if you know what to expect and you trust your dentist's expertise in the area.