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How Would You Handle This? Obtaining Consent

The mother of your 7-year-old client requests that you examine her child’s teeth, which are stained. Concerned about upcoming school photos, she asks you to polish the stains off. You start polishing. Should you have gotten consent from the 7-year-old client before proceeding with the procedure?

Yes! There is no minimum age for consent; however, it does rely on the individual’s ability to understand and decide. Generally, RDHs may find that children:

  • < 7 are incapable of consent for most treatments.
  • between 7-12 can rarely consent to treatment.
  • 12+ need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

If the child can’t decide because of their age or developmental stage, the RDH should turn to the parent for consent.

Navigating consent in practice is essential, and understanding the nuances of when and how to seek consent is crucial for delivering care.

Ready to learn more about informed consent? Explore our online module “Consent and the Dental Hygienist”!  

Course Length: Approximately 1-1.5 hours

Proof of Completion Available? Yes, and completion counts towards your QA requirements.

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