Consent in Dental Practice

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Dr Peter Norton BDS (Adel)

Peter graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2004. He works in private practice in rural and metropolitan New South Wales, with particular interest in preventive and restorative dentistry. Peter is a regular host, interviewer and moderator for digital CPD events, and is a Clinical Media Advisor and Committee Consultant to the Australian Dental Association.

Dr Mark Johnstone BDSc (Hons) DClinDent (Melb) MHlth & MedLaw FPFA

Dr Mark Johnstone is a specialist endodontist who practices in Melbourne.  He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Dental Science with Honours in 2008, winning the Ernest Joske Prize and was on the Deans Honours List in his final year. He completed his Doctor of Clinical Dentistry in 2014 from the University of Melbourne and was awarded the Ephraim Ehrmann Memorial Prize. He completed a Master of Health and Medical Law at the University of Melbourne in 2019. He is a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

Mark has a passion for lecturing, and is regularly involved in continuing education courses around Australia.


Communication is fundamental to every patient interaction in clinical practice. Unfortunately, many clinicians do not understand the legal requirements to gain valid consent when discussing diagnostics and treatment options with their patients. As complaints against clinicians are increasing year by year, it is important for dentists to be aware of the fundamental requirements to not only achieve informed consent, but to help build rapport and trust with their patients and reduce miscommunication and possible complaints.  This presentation aims to cover the legal principles of informed consent doctrine in Australia, and to not only discuss the information patients require for valid consent but to also show an example of a consultation in an endodontic setting.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the legal principles of informed consent doctrine in Australia.
  • Understand what information patients require to achieve informed consent.
  • Learn communication strategies for presenting information to patients.