Key Takeaways

  • Your dentist must get all necessary and relevant medical information before starting treatment.
  • Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act establishes rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information by dentists and other health professionals.
  • As a patient, you have the right to your health information remaining private and only being used in an appropriate way and shared with your consent.

When you go to the dentist for the first time, you’ll have to fill out a few forms. You’ll be asked for your contact information and any important medical history your dentist should know about. The dentist will use your contact details to get in touch with you for future appointments. The medical information you provide helps your dentist better understand your general health. It may impact your current and future dental health and treatments.

You should answer all questions on the medical history questionnaire. Each question is there for a reason. If you do not understand why a question is being asked, or you are not sure about the answer, ask your dentist. All the information on your medical history questionnaire is kept private. It is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. It will not be shared with anyone outside your dentist’s office without your permission.

Dentists follow the guidelines laid out in the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and relevant standards outlined by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). PHIPA applies to anyone working in health care that takes personal information from patients. PHIPA was created in 2004 to guard the privacy of sensitive patient health information, while still allowing medical professionals to share patient details needed to provide care and treatment.

For example, if you need to have dental surgery, your dentist needs to know about any medications you are taking before they start treatment. Some medications will affect the success of your treatment. If you aren’t sure or can’t remember, your dentist may need to consult with your family doctor about the medications you are on.

Learn more about dentists’ privacy obligations on the RCDSO website.

Your Information is Important!

At your first appointment, your dentist will ask you for your medical history. There are a number of things you should make your dentist aware of.

Find out what they are