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Behavior Management Conference Panel III Report–Legal Issues Associated With Managing Children's Behavior in the Dental Office

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Panel III reviewed the legal issues associated with managing child behavior in the dental setting. The first issue addressed was a review of the recent changes in informed consent for behavior management techniques in pediatric dentistry. Discussions focused on: (1) who should obtain informed consent; (2) who can give informed consent; and (3) what constitutes appropriate documentation. Recent legal actions related to poor outcomes and poor communication using behavior management techniques were identified and discussed. Addressed was the current movement by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) towards empowering the child-patient to be a co-decision maker at all appointments and its impact on decisions in the dental office about approaches to behavior management. Finally, liability issues accompanying increased use of sedation in the dental office were identified and discussed. The recommendations of the panel were: (1) consideration should be given to changing the language in the current American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines, so written consent is not required for any procedure; (2) the AAPD should create language for use in creating sample consent forms (suggestive, not prescriptive); (3) guidelines recommending the possibility of treatment deferral, when appropriate, should be strengthened; and (4) the AAPD should work with advanced education program directors to standardize the quality and number of educational experiences in the use of conscious sedation.
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Document Type: Case Report

Publication date: March 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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