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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