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Concern with a Dentist

The Manitoba Dental Association (MDA) regulates the dental profession and protects the public in matters relating to dentistry in Manitoba. The MDA Complaints Committee provides a process to evaluate and resolve problems that may arise during dental treatment.

If you have an issue with your dentist, please follow these steps to resolve the issue:

Step 1: Discuss The Issue With Your Dentist
If you have a concern, we encourage you to first discuss it directly with your dentist.

Step 2: Contact the MDA Office
If you have spoken to your dentist but are still not satisfied, you may choose to contact the MDA Office. In many cases, a telephone call may resolve minor disputes.

Step 3: Written Complaint
If the complaint is more complex and cannot be resolved over the telephone, you will be advised to forward a complaint, in writing, to the MDA office asking that the Complaints Committee review the matter. Complaints should be made in writing to:

Complaints Committee
Manitoba Dental Association
202-1735 Corydon Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba   R3N 0K4

Include:

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The name and address of dentist involved
  • The nature of the complaint, description of complaint
  • The resolution you would consider to be appropriate
  • The name(s) and address(es) of any other dentists you have consulted

Step 4: Review by Complaints Committee
Complaints Committee members are selected from a roster of dentists and public representatives (appointed by the Minister of Health) who rotate service dates to review these complaints.

The Committee comprises:

Two licensed dentists
One public representative

Once your written complaint is received, it is sent to the dentist for a response in order that the Complaints Committee can investigate and consider what can be done to resolve the problem.

A member of the Complaints Committee will contact you to discuss the case. You may be asked to meet with the members of the Complaints Committee to further discuss your concerns. The Complaints Committee may also wish to examine the dental work under review.

The Complaints Committee will attempt to resolve the concern to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. If the concern is resolved by the return of money from the dentist, a release form is developed. This is signed by the patient and dentist to formally indicate that both parties accept the Complaints Committee's resolution of the complaint.

If the Complaints Committee finds that the dentist has exhibited conduct that is unprofessional or that acceptable standards of care have not been met, the Complaints Committee may recommend that a formal review be held to deal with these problems. This review is called an Inquiry Panel and the dentist will have formal charges laid against him or her. This is a formal hearing that involves lawyers, a court reporter, witnesses and a panel consisting of two dentists from the Peer Review Committee, as well as a public representative. If the Panel finds the dentist guilty of the charges, it has the authority to impose penalties ranging from mandatory courses to upgrade clinical skills, to suspension, to loss of license.

Step 5: Appeal
If you are not satisfied with the review of your complaint by the Complaints Committee and feel that the information was not reviewed appropriately, or that there is additional information that was not considered in the review, you may appeal the Complaints Committee findings.

The appeal must be filed, in writing, to the Chairperson of the Peer Review Committee giving reasons for the appeal. It must be received by the MDA within 30 days of receiving the written response of the Complaints Committee.

The MDA has the responsibility to regulate the dental profession to ensure public safety. Under the Dental Association Act, the MDA cannot compel compensation on behalf of patients. But, in its review of complaints, the Complaint Committee may attempt to resolve the matter by recommending to the dentist the return of money to a dissatisfied patient or the payment to another dentist for re-treatment. But you must understand that the dentist is under no obligation to accept such a recommendation from the Complaints Committee.

The MDA does not have the authority to order compensation or damages for pain, suffering or out-of-pocket expenses.

Step 6: Civil Litigation
If a settlement cannot be reached by mediation by the Complaints Committee, the patient/complainant may seek legal advice from his/her own lawyer. Civil litigation may then be necessary.

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