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Top 10 Tips For Obtaining a Medical Consent Form In Dentistry


November 23, 2022


Informed consent is a cornerstone of ethical, trusted dental care. But neglecting this critical process, no matter how tedious, leaves your good name and practice legally vulnerable.

Follow these 10 medical consent essentials as a foolproof system for protecting patients and your business:

1. Verify Comprehension First

Simply presenting a medical consent form without explanation does patients a disservice. Begin by discussing the procedure in simple language, allowing opportunity for questions throughout.

Ensure patients fully grasp expectations, aftercare, risks and alternatives before signing the medical consent form. Complete understanding is vital.

2. Follow Each State’s Laws

Consent rules vary across states concerning signatures, storage timelines, electronic vs paper medical consent forms, and more. Brush up on your state's precise regulations around consent in dentistry.

Then integrate compliant protocols into daily operations so your team has confidence handling this crucial process. Staying current guarantees you meet (or exceed) requirements.

3. Transparency On All Elements

Clearly outline each phase of treatment the patient can anticipate, no matter how minor. Surprises undermine trust rapidly. If aspects may evolve depending on anatomy or complications arising, make such fluidity clear upfront. Honesty establishes faith in your commitment to delivering truly informed consent.

4. Update Forms To Reflect Changes

Despite the careful preparations, adjustments mid-procedure occasionally prove necessary. Substantial changes warrant addendums accompanying the original medical consent form.

Have patients update signatures as modifications are made. Doing so keeps all parties on the same page regarding evolving consent considerations.

5. Right To Refuse

The consent process is meant to inform, not mandate. Patients ultimately retain the right to decline recommended treatments, even after signing medical consent forms.

In such cases, document refusal details in charts with witness confirmation. Then provide alternative referrals as needed, maintaining ethical standards around consent.

6. Note Explanations Provided

Supplement signed forms with substantive notes summarizing information conveyed to each patient: risks covered, comprehension gauged, concerns raised and other consent details discussed.

Such notes demonstrate the great lengths taken to inform should questions ever arise later.

7. Level Careful Explanations

In-depth medical consent discussions suit complex treatments with elevated risks like full mouth extractions. More straightforward procedures like singular crown placements require less elaborate risk reviews prior to consent.

Tailor education levels proportionately to support informed decisions without overcomplicating simple choices.

8. Authorization Varies For Minors

Special considerations surround consent for minors. While parents/guardians generally oversee authorization, state laws dictate qualifying relationships.

For instance, some states permit grandparents to sign medical consent forms while others strictly require parents. Brush up on regulations for patients under 18 in your region to avoid missteps.

9. Welcome All Inquiries

You can never predict what questions patients will ask about proposed treatments. But regardless of how basic, addressing each concern thoroughly demonstrates patience and compassion.

Repeatedly reassure patients to voice any concerns that arise, big or small. Valuing inquiries builds immense trust.

10. Imagine Their Position

Place yourself in patients’ shoes, sitting vulnerably in the dental chair before an often mystifying procedure. With this frame of mind guiding consent conversations, you gain insight on addressing fears, tailoring explanations appropriately, and earning patient faith through understanding.

While streamlining workflows means efficiency, applying consent best practices sustains business by earning patient trust and protecting your interests against liability.

Master informed approval first, then maximize office operations accordingly. Patient partnerships fortify every dental practice so value consent procedures as the relationship-building tool they can be!


Implementing robust informed consent protocols shows patients you respect their right to understand proposed treatments fully—building immense trust in you and your practice.

Take time to inform thoroughly, encourage questions, update forms when plans change, and match consent discussions to care complexity. Document details later for legal protection. While paper consents prevail in many offices, mConsent digitally streamlines cumbersome form handling so you can better focus on patient care.

By centralizing medical history forms, consent forms and more into one integrated platform, you can optimize office operations. Invest in listening first, then treating. Get consent fundamentals handled, then upgrade efficiency through digitization to earn loyal patients for the long haul.


What are the best practices to obtain informed consent?
  • Involve patients in decision-making.
  • Encourage and check patient comprehension.
  • Establish goals of care.
  • Document the process.
How long should consent forms be retained?

Ans: Keep them for a minimum of the legally required period. Check local regulations for specific retention guidelines.

What information should be included in a medical consent form?

Ans: Details of the procedure, potential risks, alternative treatments, and a section for the patient's medical history and current medications.

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