Skip to main navigationSkip to News Headlines
NJ Division of Consumer Affairs
Global Navigation
Division of Consumer Affairs
The State of New Jersey Office of The Attorney General (Dept. of Law & Public Safety) The State of New Jersey NJ Home Services A to Z Departments/Agencies OAG Frequently Asked Questions
OAG Home
OAG Contact
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Office of the Attorney General Homepage Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs Highlights
Division of Consumer Affairs Topics in a A-Z List Format
Office of Consumer Protection (OCP)
New Jersey Bureau of Securities
Office of Weights and Measures
Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Professions and Occupations List
Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs in Spanish
Division of Criminal Justice
Division on Civil Rights
Division of Gaming Enforcement
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Division of Law
Juvenile Justice Commission
NJ Racing Commission
State Athletic Control Board
Division of NJ State Police
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
Subscribe to Buyer Beware Alerts
OPRA - Open Public Records Act
Download Free PDF Reader


New Jersey State Board of Dentistry
Frequently Asked Questions - For Consumers

  1. History and background of the Board of Dentistry
  2. Who makes up the Board of Dentistry?
  3. What information is available from the Board?
  4. How do I file a complaint?
  5. What happens to my complaint?
  6. Can I report a fee dispute?
  7. What action might be taken by the Board?
  8. How long will the investigation take?
  9. The Board can require a licensee to pay restitution. Will that be enough money to have my dental work re-done?
  10. I need to request records from my last dentist. Will the dentist charge me for those records?


 


 

  1. History and background of the Board of Dentistry
    The State Board of Dentistry (the Board) was created by the State Legislature in 1915 to ensure that New Jersey’s dentists were rigorously trained and ready, willing and able to safely treat New Jersey’s citizens. A part of the Office of the Attorney General in the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Board is charged with the protection of the public by setting uniform education, training and examination requirements for dentists and dental auxiliaries, issuing initial licenses to applicants who meet those requirements, promulgating regulations governing their professional practices and enforcing discipline on those licensees who do not comply with the standards set by law or regulation.
    Top

     

  2. Who makes up the Board of Dentistry?
    The State Board of Dentistry is composed of twelve members. Each member is directly appointed by the Governor and serves a four year term. The Board consists of eight dentists, one registered dental hygienist, two public members and one government liaison member. The Board also has a full-time professional office staff. Legal services are provided by the Division of Law under the direction of the Attorney General. The Board meets for a full day, twice a month, at the Division of Consumer Affairs offices in Newark.
    Top

     

  3. What information is available from the Board?
    Consumers can easily:

     

    • verify that an individual is currently licensed and in good standing;
    • get the license number and address of record for a licensee;
    • read the public meeting minutes and Dental Board newsletter; and
    • read the laws and regulations covering the practice of dentistry.

    This information is easily accessible on the Board web site , or by calling the Board office directly at 973-504-6405. Information concerning the existence of any Board action is considered a public record and copies of such documents are available upon written request. Guidance on the availability of any other information under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
    Top

     

  4. How do I file a complaint?
    Complaint forms can be obtained by either telephoning the Board office at (973) 504-6405 or downloading the form from the Board’s web site . The complaint form provides a convenient format to assist the Board in obtaining accurate and complete information on each complaint.

    In order to process complaints quickly and efficiently, the following information should be included with your complaint:

    • name and address of the licensee against whom the complaint is being filed;
    • names and addresses of any other treating dentists or any other health care facility where the patient has been treated;
    • name, address and telephone number of the person filing the complaint;
    • approximate dates of treatment;
    • details of the complaint; and
    • copies of documents supporting the complaint. This material may include billing statements, treatment records, correspondence, promotional or instructional materials and anything else which is relevant to the complaint. Do not send original documents. Kindly make sure the copies sent to the Board are legible.

    Top

     

  5. What happens to my complaint?
    The Board will provide the dentist, hygienist and/or assistant (licensee) with a copy of the complaint and ask for a written response along with a copy of the patient records. If you have continued with further treatment, the Board may also need to obtain your patient records from a subsequent treating dentist. Please be assured that all records are afforded every measure of confidentiality under the law. Where the quality of care or workmanship is questioned and the dental work has not been replaced, the Board may arrange for the patient to be examined by an independent Board consultant. The expenses of this examination are covered by the Board. In cases involving more serious safety allegations or matters that demand confidentiality, the case may be immediately referred to the investigative department of the Division of Consumer Affairs, which is known as the Enforcement Bureau. You will be notified of such a referral and may later be contacted by an investigator. In some cases, the Board may also require the licensee to appear to answer questions under oath. The licensee may be represented by an attorney during this proceeding. Only in rare cases would you be called to testify.
    Top

     

  6. Can I report a fee dispute?
    The Board does not have specific jurisdiction to take action regarding fee disputes unless fraud or billing irregularities are suspected. Most other fee disputes are referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) unit of the Division of Consumer Affairs. This is free mediation service that can be extraordinarily helpful in resolving such disputes Be aware that the submission of such a complaint to the Board does not relieve a consumer from the legal responsibility to pay a professional fee. Consumers are strongly cautioned not to jeopardize their credit rating by delaying payment of dental bills during the course of a Board investigation in the hope that the Board may later find in their favor. If the Board finds merit in the complaint, it can later order that the consumer be reimbursed.
    Top

     

  7. What action might be taken by the Board?
    After all relevant information is obtained and reviewed by the Board, it will make a recommendation for settlement. Upon completing its investigation, the Board may find the consumer complaint presents no cause for disciplinary action or that the consumer complaint is insufficient to meet the minimum proof requirements for a public disciplinary action. Sometimes, despite such a finding, the Board may find that the conduct of a licensee warrants some corrective action, which may be transmitted to the licensee in a letter. Such letters are not considered disciplinary actions. The Board has the jurisdiction to take disciplinary action only if it ultimately finds, based on a preponderance of evidence, that the licensee has violated the Dental Practice Act, any other laws or Board regulations. Unlike actions taken in civil courts, the Board is not empowered under the law to award damages to consumers. Legal options with a qualified attorney should be discussed, particularly since the courts require certain specific time frames for the filing of such an action. It is advised that complainants not await the decision of the Board if other legal avenues are being considered. Consumers who would like to pursue a civil action may do so while filing a complaint with the Board. When the Board believes that a basis for disciplinary action exists, it may request that the Attorney General negotiate a settlement in the form of a Consent Order or Settlement Letter. These types of actions may include one or a combination of the following possible sanctions:

     

    • a reprimand;
    • suspension or revocation of the license;
    • restitution;
    • terms of probation or other action such as remedial education training;
    • assessment of investigative costs;
    • monetary penalties of up to $10,000 for each unlawful act within the first offense and $20,000 for each act in a subsequent offense.

    A Consent Order or a Settlement Letter is a matter of public record. If the licensee does not agree to resolve the case in this way, the Board may refer the matter to the Attorney General for the filing of a formal Administrative Complaint, after which a full hearing may occur. During this process, witnesses and experts may be called and the licensee is entitled to a full legal defense. When this occurs, it may take substantially longer to resolve the complaint. The results of such a hearing will be embodied in a Final Order of the Board. Such Final Orders are also considered to be public documents.
    Top

     

  8. How long will the investigation take?
    Depending on the complexity of the investigation and considering the volume of consumer complaints received by the Board, final disposition of the investigative stage may take from nine to twelve months or longer. If a formal Administrative Complaint must be filed by the Attorney General, conclusion of the case may take considerably longer. Even after a final Board disposition, the practitioner may pursue an appeal in the New Jersey Superior Court - Appellate Division. You will be notified by mail as to the final outcome of the complaint. If any form of disciplinary action results in the issuance of a public document, you will be provided with a copy.
    Top

     

  9. The Board can require a licensee to pay restitution. Will that be enough money to have my dental work re-done?
    Under the law, the Board is only authorized to require restitution up to the amount of the cost of the original treatment. The Board is not authorized under the law to require payment to cover the cost of subsequent treatment, or to make awards for so called "pain and suffering." This remedy is reserved for the civil courts in negligence or malpractice lawsuits. In cases involving restitution, the Board may require the dentist to reimburse the patient for their out of pocket costs, and require that any insurance benefits be returned to the insurance carrier. This payment will enable the insurance benefit to be used to cover the cost of re-treatment on the same teeth.
    Top

     

  10. I need to request records from my last dentist. Will the dentist charge me for those records?
    Patient records are the personal work product of a dentist. Original records are required by Board regulations to be retained for a period of seven years from the last date of treatment. Dentists are required to maintain these original records, and are not permitted to release the originals. He may only release copies of records and x-rays. Requests for records should be made to the dentist in writing and giving specific instruction on where they are requested to be sent. Under the regulations, a dentist must provide the records within fourteen days of the written request. A dentist may charge a fee to recoup the cost of retrieving and duplicating the record. However, that charge may not exceed $1.00 per page up to $100 for the entire record, plus an additional charge of up to $10 to cover the costs of retrieval of the record. If x-rays need to be reproduced, a dentist may not charge any more than the actual cost of duplication. A dentist may not withhold records due to an unpaid bill, unless the dentist has not been paid for initial diagnostic services. If the dentist has affirmatively terminated a patient from the practice, the dentist may not charge for duplication of the record.
    Top
Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Legal Statement | Accessibility Statement
NJ Home Logo
Divisional: ../DCA Home | ../Complaint Forms | Proposals | Adoptions | Contact DCA
Departmental: OAG Home | Contact OAG | About OAG | OAG News | OAG FAQs
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright State of New Jersey
This page is maintained by DCA. Comments/Questions: email

Page last modified: