- The overall aim of this project was to explore the process of obtaining informed consent in dentistry in order to develop a model for good practice. The specific aims were to find out the range of clinical practice, and discover any difficulties that dentists and patients encounter, including categories of vulnerable patients for whom there are particular ethical and legal issues in gaining consent. At the outset, nine stages in obtaining informed consent were proposed: the initial introduction, explaining the dental problem, outlining treatment options, communicating risks and benefits, estimating time and cost, inviting questions reaching mutual understanding, confirming choices, and indicating consent. The working hypothesis is that these stages are all addressed in the dental consultation. The authors conclude that the study shows that the principle of informed consent is generally acknowledged by dentists to be of value; however there is wide variation in current practice, with individual stages of the consulting process being identified but not always used and not forming a coherent pattern. The main conclusion from this study is that there is not a well-structured approach to consent in dentistry.