Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Patient
It is our goal to keep your mouth healthy, your teeth fully functional, and your smile bright — and we are proud of all the services we offer to do exactly that. At the same time, we want you to understand all that modern dentistry in general has to offer you. To that end, we have assembled a first-rate dental library in which you can find a wealth of information on various dental topics, including:
From a thorough professional cleaning to a full smile makeover, there is an amazing array of services that cosmetic and general dentists offer to make sure your teeth stay healthy, function well and look great. If your smile is not all you want it to be, this is the place to start. Read more about Cosmetic & General Dentistry.
When you have a dental emergency — whether it's caused by a sudden accident or chronic disease — your teeth and/or the tissues of the mouth that surround them need to receive proper care right away. It's also important to be aware, before you're actually in the situation, of what you can do to ensure the best outcome. Read more about Emergency Dental Care.
This is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the inside of the tooth — specifically the root canals and sensitive, inner pulp (nerve) tissue. When this tissue becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal procedure may become necessary. But contrary to the popular myth, a root canal doesn't cause pain, it relives it. Read more about Endodontics.
If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that naturally deteriorates when even one tooth is lost. Read more about Implant Dentistry.
Oral health is an essential component of general health and well-being. Good oral health means a mouth that's free of disease; a bite that functions well enough for you to eat without pain and get ample nutrition; and a smile that lets you express your happiest emotions with confidence. Read more about Oral Health.
A major goal of modern dentistry is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. By following a conscientious program of oral hygiene at home, and coming to the dental office for routine cleanings and exams, you have the best chance of making this goal a reality. Read more about Oral Hygiene.
The word “surgery” often brings to mind a stay in the hospital, general anesthesia, and perhaps a lengthy recovery period. However, the experience of having oral surgery is usually very different from that. Some common oral surgery procedures include: tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and biopsies of suspicious oral lesions. Read more about Oral Surgery.
Adults and kids alike can benefit from the boost in self-confidence that comes from having a great-looking smile with beautifully aligned teeth. Orthodontic treatment can even improve chewing, speaking and oral hygiene in certain cases. And with today's virtually invisible orthodontic appliances, it's possible to keep your treatment a private matter… until your new smile is unveiled, of course! Read more about Orthodontics.
It's never too early to get your child started on the path toward a lifetime of good oral health, and there are many services to do exactly that. Monitoring your child's dental growth and development, and preventing and intercepting dental diseases along the way, is the primary focus of pediatric dentistry. Read more about Pediatric Dentistry.
If you want to keep your teeth for life — a completely reasonable goal in this day and age — you need to make sure the tissues that surround them are also healthy. Should gum problems arise, you may need periodontal therapy to restore diseased tissues to health. Read more about Periodontal Therapy.
In the field of dentistry, new technology is constantly changing the way diseases are diagnosed, routine procedures are performed, and illnesses are prevented. Although they may seem unfamiliar at first, new and improved dental technologies offer plenty of real benefits for patients. Read more about Technology.
- You have a right to choose your own dentist and schedule an appointment in a timely manner.
- You have a right to know the education and training of your dentist and the dental care team.
- You have a right to arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment, subject to any state law exceptions.
- You have a right to adequate time to ask questions and receive answers regarding your dental condition and treatment plan for your care.
- You have a right to know what the dental team feels is the optimal treatment plan as well as the right to ask for alternative treatment options.
- You have a right to an explanation of the purpose, probably (short and long term) results, alternatives and risks involved before consenting to a proposed treatment plan.
- You have a right to be informed of continuing health care needs.
- You have a right to know in advance the expected cost of treatment.
- You have a right to accept, defer or decline any part of your treatment recommendations.
- You have a right to reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.
- You have a right to receive considerate, respectful and confidential treatment by your dentist and dental team.
- You have a right to expect the dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.
- You have a right to inquire about the availability of processes to mediate disputes about your treatment.
(Adopted by the American Dental Association in 2009)
Your Responsibilities as a Patient
- You have the responsibility to provide, to the best of your ability, accurate, honest and complete information about your medical history and current health status.
- You have the responsibility to report changes in your medical status and provide feedback about your needs and expectations.
- You have the responsibility to participate in your health care decisions and ask questions if you are uncertain about your dental treatment or plan.
- You have the responsibility to inquire about your treatment options and acknowledge the benefits and limitations of any treatment that you choose.
- You have the responsibilityfor consequences resulting from declining treatment or from not following the agreed upon treatment plan.
- You have the responsibilityto keep your scheduled appointments.
- You have the responsibilityto be available for treatment upon reasonable notice.
- You have the responsibilityto adhere to regular home oral health care recommendations.
- You have the responsibilityto assure that your financial obligations for health care received are fulfilled.
(Adopted by the American Dental Association in 2009)
American Dental Association Leads Fight for Patient Rights
The American Dental Association has supported legislation that will set a few basic rules to promote high-quality care and protect patients in an increasingly bottom line-driven health care system.
ADA member dentists have been instrumental in moving the patients' rights issue into the national spotlight. The nation appears closer than ever to finally seeing a comprehensive patients' bill of rights passed into law.
While Congress debates various versions of patient rights legislation, the insurance and managed care industries have long supported legislation that would fail to protect all privately insured Americans against unfair delays and denials of coverage by their health plans, according to the ADA. Some ill-fated bills left out critical protections, such as guaranteeing people the option of choosing their own doctors or creating mechanisms to address patients' grievances against health plans. One proposal even omitted freestanding dental plans, which could have left more than 120 million dental patients without these vital protections.
The American Dental Association continues to lobby for the enactment of bipartisan legislation to help ensure that health plans treat patients fairly and do not discriminate against dentists. Here are some of the key issues identified by the ADA:
- Coverage for freestanding dental plans, which account for the vast majority of Americans who have dental coverage.
- Patient choice, by guaranteeing access to at least one plan with a point-of-service option that allows patients the opportunity to choose their own doctors.
- Health plan accountability, through the availability of impartial, external review and by holding plans accountable when their decisions to delay or deny care harm patients.