Informed consent comprehension and recollection in adult dental patients: A systematic review.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 May 10. pii: S0002-8177(16)30255-0. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2016.03.004. [Epub ahead of print]



Patients' ability to recollect and comprehend treatment information plays a fundamental role in their decision making.


The authors considered original studies assessing recollection or comprehension of dental informed consent in adults. The authors searched 6 electronic databases and partial gray literature and hand searched and cross-checked reference lists published through April 2015. The authors assessed the risk of bias in the included studies via different validated tools according to the study design.


Nineteen studies were included: 5 randomized clinical trials, 8 cross-sectional studies, 3 qualitative studies, 2 mixed-methods studies, and 1 case series. Conventional informed consent processes yielded comprehension results of 27% to 85% and recollection of 20% to 86%, whereas informed consent processes enhanced by additional media ranged from 44% to 93% for comprehension and from 30% to 94% for recollection. Patient self-reported understanding ranged positively, with most patients feeling that they understood all or almost all the information presented. Results of qualitative data analyses indicated that patients did not always understand explanations, although dentists thought they did. Some patients firmly stated that they did not receive any related information. Only a few patients were able to remember complications related to their treatment options.


Results of this systematic review should alert dentists that although patients in general report that they understand information given to them, they may have limited comprehension. Additional media may improve conventional informed consent processes in dentistry in a meaningful way.


Popular Posts