Monday, March 9, 2015

Why do we have to Sign Informed Consent at the Dentist?

            Any time a medical or dental procedure is performed to improve your current situation, there are inherent risks. Some may be more obvious than others, but we believe it is important we make you aware of some of the possible outcomes. If you have knee replaced at the hospital, you have always been asked to read and acknowledge some of the potential risks. Whether you have a tooth extracted or a cavity filled, they are also invasive procedures that could have potential problems. We feel it is beneficial for each person to have this information before procedures are performed. Below we will discuss some basic risks for some common procedures:
Possible risks with a filling:
            When we remove tooth decay and place a filling, the goal is to remove the diseased tissue before in encroaches on the nerve and causes sensitivity and pain. However, each person and tooth is unique and it would be impossible to predict the outcome of each filling. That’s why we want you to be aware any filling we do has the potential for tooth sensitivity and a resultant root canal. We take a number of steps during the procedure to decrease the potential for problems, but typically the earlier we treat the cavity the better the outcome. This is another key reason to maintain your regular exams and follow up quickly with recommended treatment.

Possible risks with a Crown:
            Just like a filling, a crown has the potential for sensitivity and a possible root canal. However, the risk may be greater because by the time we have reached the need for a crown, the damage and previous work on that tooth may be greater. But even with these risks, a crown is obviously a much better option than losing the tooth or allowing it to break beyond repair.

Possible risks with a root canal:
            One of the greater risks with a root canal is a root fracture. In the most extreme cases, this root fracture can lead to loss of the tooth all together. But again, the root canal is a better option than remaining in pain or keeping an infection.

            No matter what the procedure, there will always be varying degrees of risk. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have before, during, or after the procedure on what you may encounter. Using our understanding of your particular situation and the potential risks, we will work with you to determine what is the appropriate course of action.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

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