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  Resolving things between you and your dentist

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What should you do if you have a dispute with your dentist?

In most cases, it's best to try to resolve the dispute directly with the dentist. Studies show that most disputes are simple misunderstandings that can easily be resolved if both parties are willing to look for an amicable solution. Before escalating the problem, consider discussing your questions with the dentist first.   

If you've unsuccessfully tried to settle the dispute with your dentist


The Mediation Process

The Arizona Dental Association (AzDA) has established a dispute resolution system called "mediation" to help resolve a disagreement about dental treatment. Mediation provides an impartial and easily accessible means for resolving misunderstandings regarding the appropriateness or quality of care and, in certain instances, about the fees charged for dental treatment.

A mediation committee will attempt to resolve the problem. They may meet to discuss the case and may examine clinical records, talk to the dentist and patient, and, when indicated, arrange for a clinical examination. This is a free service to the public and AzDA members.
In order to save you time, hassle, and expense, you may want to take your complaint with an Arizona dentist to AzDA before you take it to the State Board. The dispute resolution/mediation system has been able to satisfactorily resolve the majority of complaints received, and they are usually resolved with far less time and expense than they would be if they were taken to the State Board.  

The first step in the process is to make sure that your dentist is a member of AzDA. Our mediation process is only for AzDA members. To find out if your dentist is a member, please click on the link to go to the Find a Dentist page and complete the search or call 480.344.5777.  

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Before you contact us, here are important notes about the dispute resolution/peer review process

There are limitations to the types of complaints, which are within the scope of mediation. AzDA reserves the right to not accept or act on any request for review. The process is confidential and is available provided the complaints fall within mediation guidelines.

This review process is available only if the patient, dentists, and third party payor (if any); all consent in writing to submit to review, in accordance with the mediation manual procedures. All requests are screened before the process begins to be sure that they are appropriate for review. If the complaint is accepted for mediation, the first step is for an impartial dentist to attempt to informally mediate the matter. If mediation is not successful, a component mediation panel of at least three member dentists will be appointed to review the case and determine the issues. The review will include examination of dental records, an interview with the patient and dentist, and where appropriate, other involved persons. If necessary, a clinical examination will be arranged, without charge to the person examined. Once the committee concludes its review, all participants will be informed, at a later date, of the committee’s decision, in writing.

There is a process for appeal of the decision to the AzDA Mediation Committee. Specific grounds for appeal and supporting details or documentation must be specified in a written request for appeal.

Simply because a party does not like the decision is not sufficient grounds for appeal as it is not the function of the appellate review to re-try a matter or to hear evidence that was or could have been presented in the initial hearing. To initiate review of your complaint, the mediation request and agreement forms must be completed, signed and returned with supporting evidence to the AzDA office. If the request is not within mediation guidelines or proper consent is unavailable, you will be notified promptly.

Situations that do NOT qualify for AzDA's dispute resolution/mediation process

  • The mediation process is not suitable or available in situations involving possible claims for other kinds of damages (e.g., pain, suffering, loss of work, punitive damages, etc.). The system strives to fairly evaluate treatment/care and when appropriate, has the option of: directing re-treatment services without charge; adjustment of fee; refund of fee.

What to do if your situation does NOT qualify for AzDA's dispute resolution/mediation process

  • If your situation involves a dentist that is NOT a member of AzDA, you will need to file your complaint with the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners. The Board is the state agency that examines licenses and regulates individuals who provide dental services. The Board accepts written complaints against licensed and unlicensed individuals, investigates allegations, and takes disciplinary actions for violations of law.  Click here to access their website

If you've carefully read the instructions above, click the link below to download the mediation forms 

Click here to download the mediation process forms. Return the completed mediation forms to the Arizona Dental Association, 3193 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. If you have questions about mediation services, call 480-344-5777 ext. 309.