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Abstract

Doctors, as members of the health care profession are looked upon with reverence and respect. A doctor-patient, especially a dentist-patient relationship is a special one. The foundation for this relationship is trust that the dentist will perform his duty with the patient’s best interests in mind. Dentists support this relationship by practicing in a professionally responsible manner and letting the ethical principles of their profession guide actions while performing duties of care to patient. It is also the responsibility of dentists to assist patients to make well informed decisions about treatment procedures. The act of asking for consent, specifically informed consent from the patient fulfills three aspects. Firstly, respect for the patients’ right to make a choice regarding his body, secondly as an ethical and moral obligation and finally a legal necessity to safeguard the dentist from possibility of future legal action. Failure to do so violate patients’ trust in dentists and increases dentists’ liability to malpractice suits. The following review article addresses an important ethical principle of informed consent. It also focuses on various types of consent and methods to help dentists improve their skills in obtaining a legally and ethically valid patient consent.

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