Council highlights for June 16, 2022

Council Highlights
The 431st Council meeting of the RCDSO took place online via Zoom on Thursday, June 16, 2022. The meeting was also livestreamed; a video recording of the Council session will be available on the College's YouTube channel. 

Cannabis and dental health: what dentists should know

Informed Consent, Treatment, Diagnoses and Procedures
With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, dentists should be aware of the impact recreational or medical cannabis use may have on the oral health of patients.

Finding important information on the new College website

College News
The new website has arrived. It features important information to help dentists with running your practice, understanding your responsibilities and staying up-to-date with the latest news from the College. Learn more. 

Informed refusal

Informed Consent, Practice Enhancement Tool

One of the core values at the foundation of RCDSO’s Code of Ethics is respect for patient autonomy. This means that dentists have a duty to understand and respect the rights of patients to make informed decisions, based on their personal values and beliefs. Dentists have a professional, legal and ethical obligation to involve their patients as full partners in the decision-making process.

The importance of addressing periodontal disease

Treatment, Diagnoses and Procedures

Despite steady progress in the field of periodontology, periodontal disease remains the most common cause of adult tooth loss.

Dealing with patients who wish to dictate treatment

Patient Communication

From time to time, patients may present to your office with demands for treatment that, as a dentist, you know are not in their best interest. Some may have exceedingly high expectations that you feel are unrealistic and cannot be achieved, while others may request treatment that is beyond your expertise or comfort to provide.

Challenges in treating patients in a long-term care facility

Informed Consent

Providing dental treatment and oral care in a long-term care (LTC) facility can present unique challenges. Dentists who work in LTC facilities must still meet the standards of practice: they must ensure that the available physical facilities are adequate, keep dental records that adhere to the RCDSO’s guidelines, and obtain informed consent before initiating any treatment. Obtaining informed consent in LTC facilities can be particularly challenging and warrants careful analysis.

Common complaints and how to avoid them


The College processed more than 600 complaints and inquiries last year, many of which have common themes. Communications issues are some of the most frequent matters that come before panels of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee.

Ensuring patients understand and agree to the cost of treatment… It’s all about good and early communication

Patient Communication

Dentists have a legal and ethical obligation to obtain their patients’ informed consent prior to the start of treatment. Discussions about dental services also need to include information about the costs involved and the patient’s responsibilities regarding payment. It is prudent to advise patients if you intend to charge fees that are above the fees listed in the Ontario Dental Association’s Suggested Fee Guide.

Can dentists provide smoking cessation programs for patients?

Treatment, Diagnoses and Procedures

Yes, tobacco use has been implicated in oral cancer and other conditions of the oral-facial complex such as periodontal disease. The provision of smoking cessation, including the prescription and/or recommendation for use of nicotine replacement products or other pharmaceutical aids, is considered within the scope of practice of dentistry.

Take care to properly obtain and document informed consent

Informed Consent

The issue of informed consent to dental treatment is encountered frequently in complaints reviewed by the Inquiries, Reports and Complaints (ICRC) Committee.

Treating a Medically Compromised Patient

Dental Emergencies

In the course of your professional career, you will regularly encounter medically compromised patients. These patients have special medical and/or dental needs that could directly impact their medical condition. The following case from the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) illustrates how difficult treatment decisions become when a patient is medically compromised.

Clear Communication with Parents Key to Avoiding Misunderstandings When Treating Minor Patients

Patient Communication

A parent filed a complaint about the care of his minor daughter by a pediatric dentist. The father complained that the dentist:

  • recommended unnecessary restorative treatment to be performed under a general anesthetic
  • took advantage of him due to his dental insurance coverage
  • failed to provide him with treatment options
  • assaulted his young daughter.

Accurate Diagnosis and Adequate Treatment Plan are Keys to Addressing Patient’s Dental Health Needs


Complaints Corner is designed as an educational tool to help Ontario dentists and the public gain a better understanding of the current trends observed by the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. These scenarios are an edited version of some of the cases dealt with by the Committee. The law does not allow for either the dentist or the complainant to be identified.