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Troubleshooter: What are a 15-year-old's "dental rights"?

July 23, 2021
This mother wants to have her 15-year-old daughter's teeth whitened, but the daughter is not on board. What is the practice required to do?

Nearly everyone has problems and concerns on the job, and sometimes you're just too close to a situation to solve something yourself. Share your concerns with Team Troubleshooter, and the experts will examine the issues and provide guidance. Send questions to [email protected].

Take a few moments to see what Dr. Chris Salierno, former editor of Dental Economics, has to say about this sticky situation involving a minor's dental rights.

QUESTION: A 15-year-old patient came into our practice with her mother for an exam and cleaning. Her mother explained that her main concern was her daughter’s discoloring teeth, and the mother would like to see her daughter’s teeth become chalky white. The patient did not express any desire to have whitening done. Seeing as how the mother is giving the consent, does the practice have any legal obligation to perform the treatment or to not do the treatment?


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Don't be shy! If YOU have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed, send it to [email protected]. for the experts to answer. Remember, you'll be helping others who share the same issue. Responses will come from various dental consultants, as well as other experts in the areas of human resources, coding, front office management, and more. These folks will assist dental professionals with their various issues on DentistryIQ because they're very familiar with the tough challenges day-to-day practice can bring. Inquiries will be answered anonymously here on DIQ.

Originally published in 2017 and updated regularly.