CLEARly aligned with your informed consent
Mar 30, 2023
Welcome to the world of dentistry, where “informed consent” is the buzzword that you must be familiar with. If you're a dentist using clear aligners in your practice, then you better buckle up because informed consent is not just important, it's a must-have!
Informed consent is like a two-way street. It's a process of informing your patients about their treatment options, associated risks, and benefits. But it's not just about you talking to your patients. It's about them asking questions and becoming an active participant in their dental care. This is especially crucial when dealing with clear aligners, and here's why.
Informed consent can be an educational tool for both you and your patients. By taking the time to explain all the treatment options and answering their questions, you can ensure that your patients are comfortable with their decisions about their dental health. This builds trust, loyalty, and referrals down the line. It also empowers your patients to make informed decisions about their health care.
But the benefits don't end there! Having a written record of informed consent protects both you and your patients. If a patient feels that they were not adequately informed about their treatment options and any associated risks, they may take legal action against you. But with a documented record of your discussion, you are better protected in court should any complications arise during treatment.
When discussing clear aligners with your patients, certain topics must come up. These include potential risks (such as tooth sensitivity caused by wearing aligners), possible outcomes (including how long treatment may take), financial considerations (what type of insurance coverage they may have), alternative treatments (if applicable), and most importantly – setting expectations so that everyone involved understands what success looks like at the end of treatment.
The informed consent should be considered the most important appointment in the whole treatment process. But it's not just a one-time thing. It's a work in progress. Things can happen during treatment due to various reasons, like stubborn teeth, unexpected tooth reactions, or patient compliance issues. Hence, it's important to review with your patients what was achieved and what was not achieved at the end of the treatment in the final informed consent appointment.
According to Dr. Larry Jerrold, orthodontist, lawyer, and author of the Litigation column in the AJODO, "Orthodontics is not about perfection. It’s about improvement!" We may aim for perfection, but we cannot always achieve it, especially with adults who have a dental and psychological history. We can only do our best, and for that, we need their cooperation.
So, informing your clear aligner patients about all aspects of their treatment plan is crucial for successful outcomes and protecting yourself from legal issues down the road. Don't worry; once you start implementing informed consent conversations into your practice, it will quickly become second nature, and you'll reap tremendous benefits for both you and your patients!
In conclusion, remember one thing – in the eye of a patient, everything you see before, you note before, and you say before is a diagnostic. Anything you see after, you note after, or you say after, is an excuse! So, have fun making the MOVE!
To know more about informed consent, watch this video from our YouTube channel, featuring Dr. Larry Jerrold:
Have fun Making the MOVE!
Stephane Reinhardt, DMD
Director Education Program
The CLEAR Institute
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