Patients have a right to expect a professional standard of care from their dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants. If you are dissatisfied with the care you have received or have related concerns, you are well advised to request an explanation from your dentist and attempt to understand all the facts.
If you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive from your dentist, you may lodge a written complaint with the New Brunswick Dental Society. As the body responsible for regulating Dentists and Dental Assistants and protecting the public in matters related to dentistry, the New Brunswick Dental Society will investigate your complaint as required in our legislation and explained below.
Note: The New Brunswick Dental Society does not regulate hygienists and if there are formal complaints against dental hygienists, they can be addressed to the College of Dental Hygiene at 1-506-872-3133.
Further the New Brunswick Dental Society has no jurisdiction to address billing disputes and does not award compensation to patients in the same manner as the courts. Patients are advised to seek legal counsel to assist in determining rights with respect to billing disputes and civil actions.
We recommend that you discuss your concerns with the Registrar prior to filing a formal complaint so that you fully understand our processes. Please call (506) 452-8575. In any event, should you wish to proceed with a complaint our legislation requires that a written, signed complaint must be submitted by mail to:
New Brunswick Dental Society
570 Queen Street, Suite 504
P.O. Box 488 Station “A”
Further We Suggest You Include:
- Your name, address and telephone number
- The name and address of the dentist involved
- The issues of your complaint (including dates where possible)
- The name and address of any and all other dentists you consulted
- Any dental records you may have in your possession
Written complaints are acknowledged in writing.
Once a written complaint is received, the Registrar forwards a copy to the dentist who is provided the opportunity to reply. The complaint and any reply from the dentist is forwarded to a local Mediation Panel, composed of three dentists.
The Mediation Panel has 60 days to consider the complaint and to make a written recommendation to you and the dentist. The panel’s role is to suggest a manner to resolve the complaint and its recommendations are non-binding.
If either you or the dentist disagrees with the Mediation Panel’s recommendations, the complaint will be forwarded to Complaints Committee for further investigation. The Mediation Panel may also forward the complaint to the Complaints Committee at any time in its discretion.
The Complaints Committee consists of two dentists and a member of the public. This Committee will only consider written evidence but may request additional information in writing from you to assist it in its deliberations. The Committee makes a recommendation to either refer the matter to the Discipline Committee, or to dismiss the complaint.
Appeal of Complaints Committee Decision
If dissatisfied with the decision of the Complaints Committee, you have 30 days to appeal any its decision to the Board of Directors of the New Brunswick Dental Society.
The Discipline Committee is composed of 2 dentists and a public member. These are individuals not otherwise involved in the Society process or the Board. The hearings themselves are conducted much like a trial, with evidence taken under oath, full disclosure of documents and full cross-examination of witnesses.
The Committee may determine matters of professional misconduct or incompetence and determine penalties or other measures which may include one or more of the following: revocation of license, suspension of license, fine, or reprimand. Various conditions may also be imposed. Both you and the dentist have the right to appeal any decision of the Discipline Committee to the Board of Directors within 30 days.
For greater clarity the Discipline Committee has no authority to award damages to you, for example pain and suffering, and is only concerned with determining if your complaint constitutes professional misconduct or incompetence and how that will be remedied. Awards of damages are within the jurisdiction of the Courts.