Canadian law recognizes the fundamental right of every mentally capable person to accept or refuse health care regardless of the risks or benefits. It is also acknowledged that, without sufficient information about proposed treatment, a patient cannot make an educated choice.
Dentists and other health practitioners are sometimes confused about how much and what kind of information must be provided to ensure patients are able to make fully informed health care decisions. In addition to having their questions answered, patients are entitled to be informed about:
- the nature of the treatment;
- the expected benefits of the treatment;
- the material risks of the treatment;
- the material side effects of the treatment;
- alternative courses of action;
- the likely consequences of not having the treatment.
While the Health Care Consent Act does not address the communication of fees, dentists must ensure that patients are informed of the fees prior to providing any treatment.