Can a dentist start a root canal without your consent?

UPDATED: Jan 2, 2014

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Can a dentist start a root canal without your consent?

Asked on January 2, 2014 under Malpractice Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Attached is a copy of the required "consent" form in your state mandated before a root canal is begun on a patient by a dentist.







I have been made aware of my condition requiring endodontic (root canal) therapy in the opinion of my dentists. I am aware that the practice of dentistry is not an exact science, and no guarantees have been made to me concerning the results of the procedure.


I understand that an alternative treatment might be (but not limited to) extraction of the involved tooth or teeth.


I understand that the consequences of doing nothing will lead to worsening of the condition, further infection, cystic formation, swelling, pain, loss of tooth, and/or other systemic disease and infection problems.


Some complications of root canal therapy may be, but are not limited to:


 Failure of the procedure necessitating re-treatment, root surgery, or extraction


 Post-operative pain, swelling, bruising, and/or restricted jaw opening that may persist for several days or longer


 Breakage of an instrument inside the canal during treatment, which may be left as is, or may require surgery for removal


 Perforation of the canal with instruments, which may require additional surgical treatment or result in the loss of the tooth


Successful completion of the root canal procedure does not prevent future decay or fracture. An endodontically treated tooth will become more brittle and may discolor. In most cases a full crown is recommended after treatment to lessen the chance of fracture.


By providing my signature, I certify that I understand the recommended treatment, the risks of such treatment, any alternatives and the risks of these alternatives including the consequences of doing nothing. I have had a chance to have all of my questions answered.





IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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