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Standard of dental treatment; informed consent (09HDC01081)
Download Standard of dental treatment; informed consent (09HDC01081) (PDF 135Kb)
(09HDC01081, 21 May
Dentist ~ Options ~ Periodontal disease ~ Extent of
restoration ~ Assessment ~ Standard of dentistry ~ Documentation ~
Informed consent ~ Rights 4(1), 4(2), 6(1)(b), 7(1)
A woman complained to the Dental Council of New Zealand about
the dental care provided by her dentist. The complaint was
forwarded to HDC. The woman saw the dentist with a painful tooth
and a vague pain behind her front teeth. He discussed the need for
treatment and outlined his recommendations, including treatment of
the periodontal disease and extensive surgical restoration of her
missing and decayed teeth.
Following extensive dental treatment by the dentist, the woman
suffered severe and ongoing discomfort. The dentist refunded
$28,805.00 to the woman, and she since had her dental work
It was held that although the dentist maintained that he
provided the woman with information about all the options available
to her, there was no documentation to support this. Nor was there
evidence that he obtained adequate consent prior to treatment.
Accordingly, the dentist breached Rights 6(1)(b) and 7(1).
It was also held that, while it was difficult to make an
accurate assessment of the state of the woman's teeth prior to
treatment, the extent of the treatment performed was unnecessary.
The dentist failed to carry out an adequate preliminary assessment,
and the treatment that was performed was of a poor standard, which
resulted in ongoing problems due to a severe malocclusion. By
failing to exercise reasonable care and skill in his assessment and
treatment, the dentist breached Right 4(1).
By failing to maintain adequate documentation and for deleting
his proposed treatment plans, the dentist failed to comply with the
relevant professional standards and also breached Right 4(2).
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