Make copies of any records submitted to AZ Dental Board

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If you have an unresolved dispute with a dentist, you can file a complaint with the Arizona Dental Board, but nothing you submit with your complaint can be returned to you.

State law prohibits the Arizona Dental Board from giving back any records you submit. The law treats any documents you provide the Dental Board as evidence and those documents cannot be shared with the public, not even the patient who provided them.

Deanna Pine got into a dispute with a Phoenix dentist and decided to file a complaint with the Arizona Dental Board. She wasn't happy with its decision.

"They concluded that he did what was best for me, so, losing four teeth was best for me, I guess," Pine said.

Pine says she gave the board her medical records as part of her complaint and now wanted them back.

"I would like them to give me all the evidence that I gave them so another dentist, a specialist, can check it," Pine said.

She figured if the second opinion disagreed with the actions of her dentist, it could be grounds for a lawsuit. But the Dental Board refused to return her records citing Arizona law that states submitted documents in a complaint are not available to the public. The law helps protect patient privacy.

"I understand that, but I'm the patient; I'm not just a member of the public," Pine said. "I should be able to get my records back, of course."

But Title 32 of the Arizona Revised Statutes doesn't make that distinction. The filer of a complaint can't get back what they submit, even if they are the patient. So if you have a problem with a dentist, make copies of anything you submit to the board.

"Bottom line: I'm not getting them because I'm a member of the public," Pine said.

This type of law applies to other state regulatory boards also, but don't worry about getting your dental records. Another law makes it easy to get them even if you don't ever want to see your dentist again.

If you send the dentist a certified letter, they must send your records to you at your address on file within 15 business days. The dentist can charge for copying the records but it must be reasonable and they can't withhold your records because you owe them money.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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