Law and Ethics for Dental Assisting Exam Practice Problems (page 2)

Updated on Jun 23, 2011

Practice Answers and Explanations

1. b. State law determines which duties the dental assistant can perform. These regulations are found in the state Dental Practice Act. Each state is different.

2. a. The code of ethics is a voluntary set of standards a profession establishes.

3. d. A dental professional is obligated to diagnose, to refer the patient to a needed specialist, and to sterilize all instrumentation. Failure to give a treatment plan is not a negligent act.

4. b. The dentist must explain to the patient the risks, benefits, and options prior to beginning any treatment. If the dentist feels that the treatment may not be completely successful, he or she must disclose this to the patient.

5. b. In any litigation, a dentist is judged by his or her peers in the state in which he or she works.

6. a. Negligence is what a reasonable and careful person under similar circumstances would NOT do. It is also the failure to perform an act that a reasonable and careful person would do under similar circumstances.

7. c. Invasion of privacy is the act of disclosing a patient’s personal information without his or her consent. In this case, the dental office supplied the insurance company with more information than was requested.

8. d. Changing the date on an insurance claim form may lead the insurance company to pay the dentist or employee added monetary benefits. This is fraudulent.

9. c. By law, minors are not allowed to enter into a contract. Therefore, a consent form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

10. b. Abandonment is the refusal of a dentist to care for an existing patient who has a pending treatment plan without giving the patient reasonable notice.

11. c. A fact witness is one who was present at the time of the alleged wrongful act. This witness is usually summoned to provide testimony about what he or she witnessed.

12. b. If a dentist no longer wishes to provide treatment to a patient with an existing treatment plan, he or she must follow the proper patient dismissal protocol. If he or she does not, this is considered abandonment.

13. c. Dental records are legal documents and are admissible as evidence in all litigations.

14. c. Each state defines the legal scope of dental practice and the requirements necessary to practice dentistry. This is outlined in the state Dental Practice Act.

15. d. The informed consent form describes the benefits of the treatment, the risks involved, and the nature of the proposed treatment. The payment plan is never included in this consent form.

16. a. Nonmaleficence is described as causing or doing no harm to the patient.

17. a. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

18. e. Every patient has a right to privacy, and the dental office should never reveal any personal information about the patient. This is known as confidentiality.

19. a. Even though the patient pays for the radiographs, the radiographs and clinical record are owned by the dentist. Patients can have radiographs and clinical records copied or transferred to another dentist if they request this in writing and pay a transfer fee.

20. b. The proper way of correcting a charting error is to draw a straight line through the mistaken entry and to begin anew on the next line. Charting should never be completed in pencil or erasable ink, and correction fluid should never be used.

21. b. Every patient must have his or her own chart.

22. b. The patient’s clinical record includes radiographs, periodontal charting, tooth charting, referrals to other dentists, prescriptions, and lab requests. Financial documents are not part of the clinical chart.

23. a. Dental professionals are mandated to report any suspected child, elder, or spousal abuse. Reporting such abuse can help the patient to receive assistance.

24. b. When a dentist refuses to treat a patient based on the patient’s medical history, this is considered to be discrimination.

25. a. All chart entries should be made in non-erasable ink, dated, and signed by both the dental assistant and the dentist performing the treatment (except in those cases where the dentist works alone).

26. a. An informed consent form must be discussed with and signed by the patient if the treatment plan extends longer than one year.

27. b. Even if the dentist authorizes the dental assistant to perform an illegal function, it is still a criminal act. Punishment may include a fine or other penalty.

28. a. When a patient enters a dental office for an examination, it is considered implied consent.

29. b. All broken or cancelled appointments must be noted in the patient’s chart, regardless of whether there is a charge for the appointment.

30. a. The presentation of a treatment plan includes the explanation of the benefits, risks, and alternatives of treatment.

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