Risk communication for the dental team

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Abstract

Risk communication within dentistry involves giving patients information about potential risks they may encounter as a result of a dental disease, a clinical procedure or a particular behaviour. It is a personalised communication and allows patients the opportunity to make an informed choice about the provision of clinical care or the choice of a particular behaviour. Risk communication should form part of every patient interaction and is a task with which most dental professionals are familiar. Although risk communication is routine practice for dental professionals, evidence from other healthcare settings suggests that clinicians find the process challenging and may not possess the necessary skills and training to be effective. This paper aims to summarise the research findings for risk communication within healthcare and to explain the principles of effective risk communication. By developing a clearer understanding of the complexities of communication and presenting risks to patients, we may reduce misunderstandings and enable more informed decision-making.

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