The dentist-patient relationship is the cornerstone of dental practice and therefore of dental ethics. The International Principles of Ethics for the Dental Profession states, "The needs of the patient are the overriding concern." As discussed in Article One, the traditional interpretation of the dentist-patient relationship as a paternalistic one, in which the dentist made the decisions and the patient submitted to them, has been widely rejected in recent years, both in ethics and in law, in favor of an equal partnership.
On completion of this module you will be able to identify the essential elements of informed consent and explain how treatment decisions should be made for children or patients who are unable to give informed consent. You will also understand your ethical obligations towards non-compliant and financially compromised patients.