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Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a dental office?  What is the West Coast District Dental Association (WCCDA)?
No, the West Coast District Dental Association is not a dental office. We are a professional organization dentists belong to. The WCDDA is part of the American Dental Association. Dentists may choose to join the West Coast, and in doing so, also will be a member of the Florida Dental Association and the American Dental Association. Not all dentists are members, and do not have to be a member to practice dentistry in the state of Florida.
For the public, we give referrals to dentists, dental clinics and field patient questions and complaints (as long as the dentist is a member).

What does it mean if a dentist is a member of the West Coast District Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association and the American Dental Association?
First and foremost, membership is tripartite, in other words, if a dentist belongs to one of the above associations, he/she automatically belongs to all three.

To become a member, a dentist must agree to a Code of Ethics and all dental licenses and dental schools are researched and confirmed.

What’s the difference between DDS and DMD?
Dentists may receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Dentists who complete required training in recognized specialty fields receive post-graduate certificates. DDS and DMD are equal; it is what the particular dental school awards their graduates.

What’s the Board of Dentistry and what do they do?
The Board of Dentistry oversees the rules and regulations of dentistry. The Board, along with the Department of Professional Regulation work together with the licensing of dentists and hygienists. The Board of Dentistry also reviews patient complaints.


I have a bad toothache, what will the emergency room do?
Emergency rooms as a rule usually do not have a dentist on staff. You will be seen by a physician who will most likely prescribe antibiotics to get the infection under control until you can be seen by a dentist.


What’s the policy on dental records?
Original dental records must be kept in the dental office for a minimum of four years. Dentists, upon written request, must release a copy of a patient’s record to the patient or another dental office. By law, the dentist keeps the original. If the records are kept within the dental office, the dentist has 15 days to comply. If the records are stored away from the dental office the dentist has 30 days to comply.

The furnishing of copies shall not be conditioned upon payment of an unpaid or disputed fee for services rendered.

A dentist may charge a fee for copying reports or records not to exceed the cost per page charged by the Clerk of the County Court where the dentist practices. The fee for copies of x-rays shall not exceed actual cost of duplication. Payment of copying fees may be required upon delivery of the copy.


Does a dentist have to take x-rays?
For a dentist to make the optimum diagnosis and treatment plan, it is best to have x-rays. Most dentists, as part of their business plan and to protect themselves from liabilities issues, will not treat without appropriate radiographs.


Who do I call to make a complaint against a dentist?
You may contact the West Coast District Dental Association office, although there are certain criteria which must be met. The dentist must be a member of the association and the complaint must be about dental work/procedure started or completed within the past year. You may also file a complaint with the State, Florida Health. More information...

If the dentist is not a member, you may contact the Board of Dentistry at (888) 419-3456 / (850) 245-4339, Better Business Bureau at (727) 535-5522, the Federal Trade Commission, (877) 382-4357, or if it is an insurance issue, the Insurance Consumer Hotline at (800) 342-2762.


I want to know more about my dentist, what can the West Coast tell me?
If the dentist is on the West Coast membership roster, be assured the member is in good-standing with the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and the West Coast District Dental Association. The West Coast at times will be able to supply the year graduated from dental school and if the dentist is a specialist.


I understand I get a Peer Review Form mailed to me to file a complaint through the West Coast office; can’t I just talk to the Peer Review Chair directly to expedite the procedure?
Peer Review Chairs are practicing dentists who volunteer and donate their time and expertise to review and mediate patient complaints. It is not feasible or fair to expect Peer Review Chairs to interrupt their busy dental practice during the day. Most verbal interactions are conducted after normal business hours.

The Peer Review system has a proven and efficient track record. While it may seem tedious to an individual, the goal at the West Coast office is to review and mediate a peer review case within 30 days upon receipt of the complaint form.


I have been treated poorly by an office manager (dental assistant, hygienist, etc), what can I do about this?
Many times dentists are unaware of a “situation” that has occurred, the best thing to do would be compose a letter to the dentist detailing your concerns. Address it to the dentist directly (keep a copy for yourself) and send it certified, return receipt mail. This will assure the letter was indeed delivered and signed for.


I feel like I’ve been overcharged by a dentist…what can I do?
Fees in the state of Florida are not regulated. Fees from one dental office to the next will vary. It is best to have open lines of communication and have a complete understanding of the dental work to be done and the costs involved.


I need a dentist that takes Medicaid.
Presently in the State of Florida, adult Medicaid recipients are only covered for emergency extractions. There are some exceptions, and these exceptions are granted by the Medicaid office through patient petition.

Most dental providers who accept Medicaid do so for children on Medicaid. Medicaid for children covers many different procedures.

The West Coast does have a list of dental clinics that have lower fees.


 

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