How to Get a Copy of Your Dental Records
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.
FYI – I just checked with our dental records office at my dental school to find out what we charge for getting a copy of your dental records.
They said it is $1 per page in the dental chart, $4 for full mouth x-rays, and $4 for a panoramic x-ray.
It’s not free, but it seems to be a pretty reasonable fee.
Apple Dentist is Chicago charges $25.00 for Xrays copies.
They charge you for taking a making the x-ray in the first place, so 25.00 seems high to me, as I have already paid once for the x-ray? its to discourage people from getting their records.
Right I think in that case, having a lawyer issue a supeona for the records would be cheaper lol
In fairness I have had good work done on my teeth over the years, ( but I have to say that has been Rare), One dentist left my crown so high I could pass a penny through the other side of my mouth between the teeth not touching. he said it was fine, I eventually had to have it shave down to the metal by another dentist so my mouth would close now my jaw has popped for years. My wife was told in Texas she needed a root canal so she got it to only find out when we returned to California that only half the root had been removed and that it never need to be done in the first place she got an infection from that time. and what about that dentist in the news Recently who pulls children teeth to bilk medi-cal out of millions. I have other true accounts that I could share. People might ask why didn’t you do something?
Reason one I was nave and believed that educated people like dentist who can make a fair income would be better then that. I was ignorant but have learned over the years that there are lots of dishonest dentist out their. The most important thing I want to leave people here with is do your research, get a second opinion if you can afford it, hell I would get a third if I could. and chose your dentist carefully best of luck to everyone out their I hope you all fair better then we have.
Have you ever heard of paying 165.00 for a cleaning with good insurance? And required to pay 30 per visit for a special rinse everyone has to have?
I went to the site to find out who to tell my dentist would not give me a copy of my xrays. How is a lay person to know which association is their local one? I want the originals not a copy. He doesn’t need them any more.
Hi SH – They should keep the originals as they need to have the x-rays per most state dental board regulations. They are required to furnish you a copy if you request them.
My dentist died last year and his office phone has been disconnected…how do I get my records for my new dentist?
My dentist died a few months ago and the office is closed up, cleaned out, with no forwarding information. My new Dentist needs a copy of my dental records to respond to a request from the Dental Insurance Company. If i cannot provide the records, it will result in a large cost to me for my bridge replacement. My previous dentist practiced in North Lauderdale, Florida Please reply.