If you are concerned about the practice of a Dentist, Dental Hygienist or Licensed Dental Assistant, you may wish to take one or more of the following steps:
1)Talk with the licensee about your concerns, for in most cases she/he will want to know that you are dissatisfied with the dental services received.
2)Talk with the office manager/clinic manager about your situation, for they, too, want satisfied patients who will recommend their services.
3)If you are unable to receive satisfaction from the above efforts or if you feel it is inappropriate to do (1) and/or (2) above, call the Minnesota Board of Dentistry at 612.617.2250 to discuss your concerns. If you want to file a complaint, you will be mailed the appropriate forms. To initiate a formal review, complete the forms and return the packet to the Board.
The Board can only take action against the license of a Dentist, Dental Hygienist, or Dental Assistant license. The Board can only take action against personnel who are licensed with this Board. The Board can't help you with any billing or collection problems, or employment disputes between dentists and staff.
The Board's form is definitely the preferred method because it contains information that is important for you to have. The Board's complaint review process actually begins when the Board receives your completed, written complaint form. By completing a form, you are providing the documentation the Board's staff needs to begin the review process.
Generally, the Board staff will gather dental records based on information in your complaint. You will be asked to sign an authorization form to release your dental record allowing the Board to obtain your records. Signing this release will speed the handling of your complaint. If it is appropriate, the staff will also obtain a response from the licensee involved. When the information gathering is completed, a Complaint Committee of the Board (consisting of three Board members) will review the information and decide how the case should be resolved. In some cases, the Complaint Committee may direct that an investigation of the allegations be conducted by the Attorney General Office.
The Board can take a variety of actions based on the facts of the case. It can place limitations or conditions on a license, suspend a license, or revoke the license of a Dentist, Dental Hygienist, or Dental Assistant to practice in Minnesota. It also can order a Dentist, Dental Hygienist or Dental Assistant to enroll in appropriate treatment programs, or successfully complete educational coursework or examinations.
During the review process, the Board will protect your identity, unless you consent to have it disclosed to the person against whom you filed a complaint. Disclosing your identity, however, can assist the Board in investigating your complaint, since licensees must respond to specific complaints rather than to general accusations.
There is no set time limit. The length of the review process tends to vary with the complexity of the complaint. Some reviews move very quickly, others take months. Some complex cases requiring extensive investigations can take a year or more.
The Board receives some complaints that do not lead to action against a licensee. The Board cannot take action against a Dentist, Hygienist or Dental Assistant unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the licensee violated Minnesota's Dental Practice Act. The Board must thoroughly review each complaint before it takes any action. By state law, a case may be closed only by the consent of at least two Board members.
The Board's complaint process is designed for the public. If you have questions about filing your complaint, Board staff can assist you. Nevertheless, you may seek legal advice if you wish but the Board cannot pay for that service.
The Board of Dentistry has nine members including five Dentists, one Dental Hygienist, one Licensed Dental Assistant and two members of the general public, all appointed by the Governor. The Board is supported by a professional staff of ten people. The staff and the Board work closely with attorneys, legal assistants and investigators from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office when reviewing complaints against licensees. Dentists, Hygienists, Dental Assistants under investigation are required, by law, to cooperate with the Board, its staff and legal representatives.