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Problems with Your Dentist

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

What Is Peer Review?


Peer Review

Peer Review is the process by which the MDS Peer Review Committee reviews and resolves problems and other issues regarding dental treatment. Peer Review is available for patients, third-party payers, and member dentists. Complaints concerning the quality of dental care or the appropriateness of dental treatment rendered can be submitted to the Peer Review Committee for resolution.

Should the Committee decide in the patient’s favor, it can make recommendations for partial refunds, full refunds, or for treatment to be re-done by the original dentist. It cannot recommend reimbursements beyond the actual cost of the original treatment. Should the Committee find in the dentist’s favor, it can affirm that the treatment in question is appropriate and meets the community standard of care.

View the Peer Review brochure for a comprehensive overview of the process.


Getting Started


Peer Review is only available for treatment performed by MDS member dentists. The program is not able to mediate complaints against non-member dentists. Complaints submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) or are otherwise the subject of legal action will also not be accepted. Both parties (patient and dentist) must agree to submit the case to Peer Review.

To open a Peer Review case please download, complete, and return the Complaint and Limitation forms to the MDS.


What to Expect


Once a complaint is accepted, the case will be assigned to a mediator in the 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 State Committee is final.

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 Sarah Pilling at 800.342.8747, ext. 212.