Patient-Dentist Dispute Resolution

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The Massachusetts Dental Society Peer Review Program  print this page

Patients of member dentists of the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) expect the best care. When a patient is unhappy with his or her dental treatment, it is a good policy to speak with the providing dentist first. Sometimes the dentist and patient are able to resolve the complaint or problem on their own. Sometimes they can’t. That’s where the MDS and its complaint resolution process, called Peer Review, can help.


Getting Started

To open a Peer Review case, two documents are required to be completed and returned to the MDS. The Peer Review Limitations Form and the Complaint Form. It is necessary for both forms to be completed before the dispute resolution process can begin.

Peer Review is only available for treatment performed by member dentists of the Massachusetts Dental Society. The program is not able to accept complaints about non-member dentists, planned treatment, or complaints that have been submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry or are otherwise the subject of legal action. Both parties must also agree to submit the case to Peer Review.


What to Expect

Once your complaint is accepted, your case will be assigned to a mediator in your local area. Mediators are dentists who are trained to help dentists and patients resolve disagreements. If mediation is not successful, a hearing will be called by the local Peer Review Committee to decide on a recommended solution. The patient or the dentist may appeal the recommendation to the State Peer Review Committee. When a case is accepted for a hearing on the state level, the decision of the Committee is final.


The Massachusetts Dental Society Peer Review is a non-legal, non-punitive process. It relies on good faith between both parties to resolve their differences in order to promote the best possible oral health of the patient. Recommendations are made within the Peer Review system as a “gesture of goodwill.”

  • For assistance, contact Jennifer Hanlin at the MDS at (800) 342-8747, ext. 276