Can a 16 year old patient refuse consent to dental treatment that would be in their best interests?

Children age 16 and over are deemed capable of consenting to dental treatment for themselves. However, the law is more complicated when a young person refuses treatment you believe is in their best interests.

A person with parental responsibility can authorise treatment for a 16 to 18-year-old patient in these circumstances, but it would still be practically and ethically difficult to justify treating a patient of this age against their will. It is important to seek DDU advice if you are considering this step.

More information can be found in our dento-legal guide to consent.

This guidance was correct at publication 22/08/2016. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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