Many people are curious about the information contained in their dental records. Sometimes people may just want to have a copy of their dental records to see what procedures they have had done.
Others, like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld, just want to know what their medical professional has written about them in their medical records.
Whatever your reason, you should be able to easily obtain a copy of your dental records from your dentist.
How to Get a Copy of Your Dental Records
The best way to get a copy of your dental records is to simply ask your dental office for your dental records. According to HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) dentists are required to give patients a copy of their dental records.
Also, state law may require the dentist to give you a copy of your dental records.
Section 1.1.B of the American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct states:
“A dentist has the ethical obligation on request of either the patient or the patient’s new dentist to furnish in accordance with applicable law, either gratuitously or for nominal cost, such dental records or copies or summaries of them, including dental X-rays or copies of them, as will be beneficial for the future treatment of that patient. This obligation exists whether or not the patient’s account is paid in full.”
FYI- You can find a complete copy of the ADA’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct here as a PDF file.
Will Your Dentist Charge You for Your Dental Records?
It depends. Some dentists will charge a fee to give you a copy of your dental records and others will do it for free.
From what I’ve heard from patients that bring their dental records to the dental school, the normal fee if a dentist does charge for records is somewhere between $10 and $30.
If you want a copy of your dental records, just ask your dentist. If your dentist wants an unreasonable fee or is unwilling to give you a copy of your dental records, then you can get in touch with your state dental society. Here’s a full listing of the contact information for each state dental society. Keep in mind that the definition of “nominal fee” can vary widely.