If You Have a Complaint

Dental patients have a right to expect a professional standard of care from their dentists and dental assistants. If you are dissatisfied with the care you have received or have related concerns, you can request an explanation from your dentist. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you may lodge a written complaint with the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia. As the body responsible for regulating Dentists and Dental Assistants and protecting the public in matters related to dentistry, the Provincial Dental Board will investigate your complaint. By legislation [Dental Act] the Provincial Dental Board cannot require a dentist to refund a patient or pay for dental work to be redone. The Provincial Dental Board does not have any jurisdiction to deal with fee disputes or requirement to refund fees.  Furthermore, the Board does not have any jurisdiction to deal with civil claims for compensation.

How would I make a Complaint?

Legislation requires that a written, signed complaint must be submitted by mail to:

Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia
Suite 103
210 Waterfront Dr.
Bedford, NS B4A 0H3

Include:

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The name and address of the dentist involved
  • The issues of your complaint
  • The name and address of any and all other dentists you consulted
  • Any dental records you may have in your possession

Complaints are acknowledged by letter.

For further information you are welcome to contact the Board office at 902-420-0083

How will my Complaint be Investigated?

A copy of your complaint letter is sent to the licensee requsting your dental records including radiographs, photographs and any other information, a typed version of the progress notes, and a letter of response to the allegations from the licensee.  You will be given the opportunity to review and reply to the licensee's letter of response to your complaints.

The investigation process generally takes six to nine months before the Complaints Committee hears the case.  In more complex cases the investigation may require a longer time frame. Provincial legislation does not allow the Dental Board to deal with complaints involving fee disputes or requirements to refund fees.

The results of the investigation will be reviewed by the Complaints Commttee which will render a decision for the case.  In its disposition, the Complaints Committee under the Discipline Regulations made under Section 33 and 45 of the Dental Act, Section 11(1) may;

    (a)  Dismiss the complaint;

    (b)  Refer the complaint, whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee; or

    (c)  Take one or more of the following actions:

  • Counsel the licensee;
  • Issue a written caution to the licensee;
  • Issue a written reprimand to the licensee.

The decision of the majority of members of the panel of the Complaints Committee is deemed to be a decision of the Complaints Committee.  The Registrar has no part in the decision.

Once the Complaints Committee disposes of the complaint you and the licensee will receive a copy of the decision.  Provincial legislation states that any information obtained through the discipline process is not compellable in any legal proceeding.  Therefore, the Provincial Dental Board would inform you of its decision, but is unable to provide you with any additional information from the discipline proceedings to use in a civil action.

In circumstances where the Complaints Committee requires additional information in order to dispose of the complaint, the meeting will be adjourned and direction given to the Registrar to obtain this information before reconvening the disposition of the complaint.

The Complaints Committee files its written decision within thirty days of the meeting with the Registrar.

The Registrar will serve a copy of the decision on the licensee and the complainant with seven days after the decision.

The decison of the Complaints Committee is reported in a publication of the Board on a named or un-named basis, as the Committee determines appropriate.

 

Other Important Information:

  • If you are considering a complaint we encourage you to consider first discussing your concerns with your dentist.
  • For advice on specific dental treatment contact a dentist.
  • The Provincial Dental Board recommends patients with dental insurance have full knowledge of their benefits.
  • The Provincial Dental Board does not set fees for dental treatment.
  • The Provincial Dental Board investigates complaints about dental care provided in Nova Scotia by practitioners registered with the Provincial Dental Board at the time of treatment.
  • The Board's complaint process is independent of any civil legal action.