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What is the San Fernando Valley Dental Society? Is it a dental office?

No, the San Fernando Valley Dental Society (SFVDS) is not a dental office. We are a non-profit, professional membership organization of dentists in the San Fernando, Conejo and Antelope Valley areas. Not all dentists are members of our association, and a dentist does not have to be an association member to practice dentistry in the State of California. For the public we give referrals to dentists who are members, and field patient questions and complaints. For member dentists, we provide professional and business support.

What does it mean if a dentist is a member of the San Fernando Valley Dental Society, the California Dental Association, and the American Dental Association?

The membership is a tripartite; in other words, if a dentist belongs to one of the above associations, they automatically belong to all three. In becoming a member, the dentist’s dental license and the dental schools attended are researched and confirmed. A member dentist also agrees to abide by a strict Code of Ethics.

What is the difference between DDS and DMD?

Dentists may receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. These two degrees are equivalent; dental schools east of the Mississippi River generally confer DMD degrees, while those west of the Mississippi River generally confer DDS degrees. Dentists who complete required training in recognized specialty fields receive post-graduate certificates.

What is the Dental Board of California, and what does it do?

The Dental Board of California is the licensing board for dentists and hygienists. The Dental Board oversees the rules and regulations of dentistry, and also reviews patient complaints. Their phone number is (877) 729-7789.

What's the policy on dental records?

Upon a patient's written request, dentists must release a copy of that patient's records to the patient or to another dental office. By law, the dentist must keep the original. The dentist has 15 days from the date of the written request to comply with that request. The furnishing of copies may not be conditioned upon payment, or upon an unpaid or disputed fee for services rendered. A dentist may charge the patient for the actual costs incurred in copying records and x-rays. Payment of copying fees may be required upon delivery of the copy. (See the Patients Records Policy statement from CDA by selecting 'Patient Records Policy' from the upper left hand menus under About Us)

Who do I call to make a complaint against a dentist?

You may contact the San Fernando Valley Dental Society office with complaints against a member dentist. The SFVDS has jurisdiction over complaints regarding the quality of the dental work started or completed, and the appropriateness of treatment. If the dentist is not a member, the SFVDS has no jurisdiction over them; you may instead contact the Dental Board of California at 877.729.7789.

I want to know more about my dentist, what can the SFVDS tell me about him or her?

If the dentist is a member dentist, you can be assured that the member is in good standing with the San Fernando Valley Dental Society, the California Dental Association and the American Dental Association, and is licensed by the State of California to practice dentistry. We can tell you their office(s) location and phone number, financial arrangements offered, types of anesthesia used, language(s) spoken, specific dental services, including their specialty if any. We can also tell you the number of years the dentist has been in practice and the names and dates of dental schools attended.  In the state of California, all dentists are considered equally skilled and ethical.  Actions taken by the Dental Board of California are public information and can be found at www.dbc.ca.gov  

I have been treated poorly by an office manager (dental assistant, hygienist, etc.). What can I do about this?

Your dentist may be unaware of a situation that has occurred. We recommend first communicating directly with your dentist regarding your dissatisfaction. You may want to compose a letter outlining your concerns, address it to the dentist directly (keeping a copy for yourself), and send it certified, return receipt mail. This will assure the letter's correct delivery. You may also contact the SFVDS for specific guidance.

I feel like I've been overcharged by a dentist. What can I do?

Fees in the State of California are not regulated. Fees from one dental office to another will vary. For this reason, it is important to establish frank communication with your dentist regarding the extent and costs of the proposed course of treatment BEFORE treatment begins.

How do I find a dentist who takes Denti-Cal / Medi-Cal?

While we can refer you to those members who have stated that they accept payment from these programs, the best and most up to date source of Denti-Cal/Medi-Cal dental referrals is the State of California's Department of Health at (800) 322-6384.

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