Peer Review

If you have a concern with your dental care, there is help

If you have concern about your dental care and cannot settle it with your dentist, the California Dental Association and Santa Clara County Dental Society have a formal dispute resolution process that can help.  This peer review process is available to you as a public service if your dentist is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Santa Clara County Dental Society.  Click here to check on that.

Many patients find this process to be fair, less costly, less time consuming, and less contentious than going to court.  The peer review system focuses on disputes involving the appropriateness and quality of treatment.  It is not designed for disputes involving dentists’ fees for care, requests for non-treatment compensation such as payment for lost wages, pain and suffering, mileage and medical expenses, disputes involving the dentist’s or staff attitude or communication problems, or disputes that have already initiated litigation.  Peer review is designed to evaluate the appropriateness and quality of dental care provided and reach a binding decision, not to be punitive.

The peer review system has two phases:  mediation and evaluative peer review.  The first step, mediation, is an informal process in which a CDA-trained staff mediator facilitates communication between you and your dentist to assist both of you in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.  The mediator does not decide a solution: he or she assists you and your dentist, over the phone, in reaching an agreement.

If mediation is not successful, the case may be eligible for evaluative peer review, which has several steps.

To inquire if this process can help you with a dispute with your dentist, please contact Katie Lam, SCCDS Peer Review Coordinator at 408-289-1480 or You may also fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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