Office Policies


The law is clear about releasing patient records to the patient or another provider.  Here are a few things you need to know to make the process easier.

  1. The dental office must maintain the ORIGINAL records at all times.  Many patients are upset that they cannot get their original records – a common complaint is “I’ve already paid for that x-ray once.” The patients, in fact, have paid for a service (use of machine, expertise, time), not the product.

    Sometimes it helps to explain to patients that “the dentist owns the records, but the patient owns the information.”  The Georgia Board of Dentistry Rule 290-5-33-12 (4) state that “records shall be preserved as original records…[and shall be retained] at least until the sixth anniversary of the patient’s discharge.  In the case of patients who have not attained majority (legal adults age 18 in Georgia) at the time of discharge, centers shall retain such records at least six years after the patient reaches the age of majority.”

  2. The dental office must release records to the patient upon request.  The law is very specific about this as well.  There are some main points to remember:

    * “The dentist can charge a “reasonable copying, and mailing fee.” Georgia code 31-33-3 states “the party requesting the records (patient, parent or legal guardian) shall be responsibleto the proivider for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing the patient record.  Payment of such costs may be required by the provider prior to the records being furnished.”