Should Dental Patients be Offered a ‘Cooling-Off’ Period?
There are obviously many dental procedures that carry risks to the patient and, because of this fact, many are requesting that patients be supplied with more comprehensive information prior to the commencement of treatment and that they should also be offered a so-called ‘cooling-off’ period which allows them to change their mind about undergoing the treatment without having to pay for it.
According to a report on Dentistry.co.uk, much more attention needs to be paid to the issue of ‘consent’ within the dental industry because, at present, there are those who believe that there is too much ambiguity surrounding the issue. This is something that is notoriously difficult for dentists to navigate due to the considerable increase in elective cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Understanding the Risks
It goes without saying that any dental patient must be made aware of any potential dangers associated with the treatment that they are undertaking and also be given the option of declining the treatment after having previously agreed to it within a specified time period. According to the report on Dentistry.co.uk, one of the biggest problems comes from the fact that a lot of patients don’t want to know the details of their treatment but, conversely, there will be those who wish to know every last detail.
The most important thing for dentists to do is ensure that they have given their patients all the pertinent details of the procedure which will allow them to make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed. Speaking in the latest edition of the DDU Journal, Susan N’Jie, a dento-legal advisor, stated, “It’s important to remember that obtaining consent is not a one-off event. Dental professionals should be confirming at every appointment during the course of the treatment, that the patient understands the risks and benefits and that they can change their mind at any time. It’s also advisable to have consent protocols which help to ensure consistency across the dental team.”