What risks must I warn patients about when obtaining consent?

You should find out what your patient wants or needs to know, as well as telling them what you think they need to know.

This includes the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment, what other forms of treatment are available and their risks and benefits, the likelihood of a complication and its implications, and what might happen if no treatment were provided. You should also give the patient the opportunity to ask questions, and answer them honestly and openly.

In the event of a claim, you would need to show you had taken reasonable care to ensure the patient was aware of any material risks involved in proposed treatment, and of reasonable alternatives. A 'material' risk is one where a reasonable person in the patient's position would be likely to attach significance to it, or if you were or should have been aware that the patient was likely to attach significance to it.

You can find more about in our guide on consent to dental treatment.

This page was correct at publication on 28/04/2022. Any guidance 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.