Patient consent and dental anxiety

In February 2017, the Journal of Dental Hygiene published results of a study that found 19% of the sampled population had moderate to high dental anxiety. Dental practitioners are well aware of the clinical challenges posed by patient anxiety. But one situation in which its influence may be overlooked is during the informed consent process. Informed consent is an essential component of the treatment sequence as well as an ethical obligation of every practicing dentist. It rests on the ability of the professional to communicate effectively with the patient and on the capacity of the patient to understand and synthesize the relevant information. The ultimate goal is to allow the patient to arrive at an autonomous decision.