Too often when a patient encounters a problem with a dentist, he/she will go directly to the Dental Board of Examiners before exploring other options for resolution. This is a very time consuming and tedious process, for both the patient and the doctor. There is almost always another way! Here are some tips for resolving issues with your dentist:
- Make sure the problem is the kind of issue that warrants a complaint with the board. Issues such as billing, overbooking appointments and rudeness by office staff are NOT reasons for a Dental Board complaint. These types of complaints can usually be resolved with a verbal or written complaint to the office manager. If this is not effective, then a written complaint to the owner/corporate entity will usually do the trick.
- If the issue is a quality of care issue, and you feel that you are due a refund or wish for the doctor to re-do the procedure or replace an inferior product, the first option is to try to discuss the problem with the doctor directly, bypassing the office staff. Be clear and concise. State what you believe is the problem and let the doctor know what you expect him to do. Lack of communication is the number one problem in these types of disputes.
- If the above option fails, try putting your complaint in a formal written letter, addressed directly to the doctor (never the center or office manager) and send it certified mail, registered (so only he/she can sign) and request a return receipt. Again, state very clearly in your letter of complaint exactly what the issue is and what you would like the doctor to do. Let him/her know that you are aware of all of your options and that you are attempting a resolution before you take the problem to a higher level. You will most definitely get his attention. Make sure to give the doctor ample time to address the letter. 10 days is usually sufficient, though it doesn't usually take that long. In my years of working in this field, I have found that this option is almost always the most effective.
- Always try to be open to compromise.
Remember, don't make a hasty decision! Go to the Board of Dental Examiners ONLY after you have exhausted all avenues for resolving the problem.
As always, keep smiling!