A peer review process is in place in all 50 states to assist patients who have complaints or issues with the quality of their dental work. The review is also available to residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Peer review also, in some cases, handles complaints regarding dentist fees. A peer review committee attempts to resolve the situation and may meet to discuss the case, examine clinical records, talk to the dentist and patient and arrange for a clinical examination when necessary.
The New York State Dental Association resolves complaints only if the patient has been treated by a NYSDA-member dentist. The doctors' participation in the peer review process allows them to continue their NYSDA membership. A group of impartial professional peers reviews the case and makes a decision. The process is completely confidential, and findings are not reported to any outside agency or the public. The findings of the committee are upheld and cannot be changed, protecting the dentist from any additional legal action.
A patient receives an examination by at least three dentists, unless the treatment cannot be evaluated, according to the guidelines of peer review by the California Dental Association. The dentist is permitted to meet with members of the committee, who are volunteers. The CDA does not review cases regarding reimbursement of office fees. California law does permit an appeals process for both the patient and the dentist after a letter of resolution is provided.