You have the right to know everything about your dental treatment
Being a dentist myself, with over 40 years of dental experience, I am quite familiar with the rights afforded the dental patient. I think it is very important for you to be made aware of such rights to protect yourself from making unwise decisions that ultimately could affect your health and well-being.
You have the right to know about choice
How many of you have gone to the dental office and were told that you must have some procedure done, right now, or else? Most of the time you will agree, especially if you are in an emergency situation, but otherwise, maybe you should say, “Not so fast!” Have you been truly explained all the options, both pros and cons? Did you fully understand what the doctor just said and all the costs involved? Are you OK with all that?
- *You have the right to know about of all the choices available to you regarding any aspect of your treatment.
- *You have the right to question your doctor/hygienist as to the need for recommended services.
What is being put in your mouth? You have the right to know
This issue is huge. There are literally thousands of dental materials available to the dentist today. Have you been fully informed as to what chemicals, metals, and other potentially toxic agents are in those materials that get directly implanted into your head? Mere inches from your brain and entryways to your digestive and respiratory systems! Probably not, but a Holistic or Biological Dentist will only put in materials that are bio-compatible with your physiology and immune system. Want to know more about what materials may be right for you? Read more about bio-compatible dental materials.
- *What dental materials is your dentist using?, Do you know the potential hazards of using such materials that may affect your overall health.
- *Do your own research regarding the safety of the dental materials that are being placed into your mouth.
You have the right to know you are being listened to
Granted, your doctor knows more about your condition and treatment than you do. However, there may be options presented to you that just don’t sit right with you. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense, or you just don’t quite get it. Be aware, however, if your doctor insists that his or her recommendations are what you need to follow, no questions asked or else… Look out!
- *You have the right to walk out the door if your doctor is not in alignment with your healthcare philosophies.
- *Avoid “My Way or the Highway”
Informed Consent” : Your right to know about it “
What is the true meaning of informed consent and why is it so important? Basically, it means that any medical services provider (including your dentist) must tell you about all the risks, benefits, costs, pros and cons involving that procedure, as well as any alternatives to that proposed treatment. You will then provide written consent to proceed. The key to the process is if the practitioner has disclosed everything or if the you have understood everything.
- *Complain to outside agencies if you truly feel you were not properly informed about the procedures being performed and their risks, discriminated against or not treated with the respect you deserve.
- *You have the right to make your own decisions about your dental treatment and what is important to you.
- *Be an informed consumer of dental services and have the ability to make choices about what is being done to your body.
Healthcare is expensive: You have a right to know about costs
Have you ever been to any of your healthcare providers and get zapped with a bill that you had no idea you were responsible for? Happens a lot in dental offices. Considering all the technology available today, communication with insurance companies and obtaining reasonably accurate estimates of your costs and copays is easily obtained letting you know, in advance, of your financial responsibilities. Now, paying for healthcare is another matter.
- *You have the right to be informed, in writing, of all costs that are associated with your treatment recommendations and available financial options.
Do your own research: You have the right to know about your dental treatment
The best thing you can do to help protect yourself from unnecessary risk is to become an informed patient. Don’t take every recommendation as gospel. Take your time when making important dental decisions. If you are uncomfortable with a particular course of action, get another opinion. Most dentists are OK with that, especially if they are confident in what they are doing. Google the procedures. You Tube has a wealth of information to help give you a good framework on which to build.
- *You have the right to request literature, articles, studies, etc… that will support the treatment recommendations.
- *You have the right to become an informed consumer
You do have the “Right to Know”
As you have read, you, the consumer, have every right to know what the risks and benefits are for every procedure, treatment recommendation, or drug prescribed by your healthcare provider. You have the right to make your own decisions by asking the right questions and doing your own research. You have the right to walk out the door or challenge the provider if you feel your philosophies don’t match.
*Ultimately you have the right, as a human being and not just a number, to be treated with respect and the acknowledgement you justly deserve.
I always welcome comments, experiences and insights. Please share this information with your family and friends