Patient Rights and Responsibilities

ADA Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Your dentist is the best source of information about your dental health and wants you to feel comfortable about your dental care. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums means more than just brushing and flossing every day and visiting your dentist regularly. As an informed dental patient, it also means knowing what you can expect from your dentist and dental care team and understanding your role and responsibilities in support of their efforts to provide you with quality oral health care.
The rights and responsibilities listed below do not establish legal entitlements or new standards of care, but they are simply intended to guide you through the development of a successful and collaborative dentist-patient relationship

Patient Rights

You have a right:

  • to choose your own dentist and to schedule an appointment in a timely manner.
  • to know the education and the training of your dentist and the dental care team.
  • to arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment. An exception could be visiting only the dental hygienist who has an independent practice.
  • to adequate time to ask questions and to receive answers regarding your dental condition and treatment plan for your care.
  • to know what the dental team feels is the optimal treatment plan as well as the right to ask for alternative treatment options.
  •  to an explanation of the purpose, the probable (short- and long-term) results, alternatives, and risks involved before consenting to a proposed treatment plan.
  • to be informed of continuing health care needs.
  • to know in advance the expected cost of treatment.
  • to accept, to defer, or to decline any part of your treatment recommendations.
  • to reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.
  • to receive considerate, respectful, and confidential treatment by your dentist and dental team.
  • to expect the dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.
  • to inquire about the availability of processes to mediate disputes about your treatment.

Patient Responsibilities

You have the responsibility:

  • to provide to the best of your ability, accurate, honest, and complete information about your medical history and current health status.
  • to report changes in your medical status and to provide feedback about your needs and expectations.
  • to participate in your health care decisions and to ask questions if you are uncertain about your dental treatment or plan.
  • to inquire about your treatment options and to acknowledge the benefits and the limitations of any treatment you choose.
  • for consequences resulting from declining treatment or from not following the agreed-upon treatment plan.
  • to keep your scheduled appointments.
  • to be available for treatment upon reasonable notice.
  • to adhere to regular home oral health care recommendations.
  • to assure that your financial obligations for health care received are fulfilled.

Source: August 2009 ADA statement