Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a dental office? What is the Lee County Dental Society?
No, the Lee County Dental Society, Inc. is not a dental office. We are a professional organization of dentists. The LCDS is part of the American Dental Association (ADA), the Florida Dental Association (FDA) & the West Coast District Dental Association (WCDDA). Dentists that are members of the LCDS are also members of those organizations. Not all dentists are members, and do not have to be a member to practice dentistry in the state of Florida. We provide meetings for member dentists to acquire required Continuing Education credits for licensure.
To the public, we provide referrals to member dentists, dental clinics, and field patient questions and complaints regarding dentistry.
What does it mean if a dentist is a member of the Lee County Dental Society?
To be a member of the LCDS, a dentist must also be a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) Florida Dental Association (FDA) & the West Coast District Dental Association (WCDDA) which is a tripartite membership. If a dentist belongs to one of the above associations, he/she automatically belongs to all three. To become a tripartite member, a dentist must agree to a Code of Ethics and all dental licenses and dental schools are researched and confirmed.
What is the difference between DDS and DMD?
Dentists may receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Dentists who complete required training in recognized fields receive post-graduate certificates. DDS and DMD are equal – it is whatever the particular dental school awards their graduates.
What is the Florida Board of Dentistry and what do they do?
The Board of Dentistry oversees the rules and regulations of dentistry. The Board, along with the Department of Professional Regulation work together with the licensing of dentists and hygienists. The Board of Dentistry also reviews patient complaints. www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/dentistry
I have a bad toothache. What will the emergency room do?
Emergency rooms as a rule usually do not have a dentist on staff. You will be seen by a physician who will most likely prescribe antibiotics to get the infection under control until you can be seen by a dentist.
What is the policy on dental records?
Original dental records must be kept in the dental office for a minimum of four years. Dentists, upon written request, must release a COPY of a patient’s record to the patient or another dental office. By law, the dentist keeps the original. If the records are kept within the dental office, the dentist has 15 days to comply. If the records are stored away from the dental office the dentist has 30 days to comply. The furnishing of copies shall not be conditioned upon payment of an unpaid or disputed fee for services rendered.
A dentist may charge a fee for copying reports or records not to exceed the cost per page charged by the Clerk of the County Court where the dentist practices. The fee for copies of x-rays shall not exceed actual cost of duplication. Payment of copying fees may be required upon delivery of the copy.
Does a dentist have to take x-rays?
For a dentist to make the optimum diagnosis and treatment plan, it is best to have x-rays. Most dentists, as part of their business plan, to protect themselves from liability issues and to meet record keeping requirements by the state, will not treat without appropriate radiographs.
Who do I call to make a complaint against a dentist?
You may contact the Lee County Dental Society office, although there are certain criteria which must be met. If the dentist is a member of the LCDS, the patient is referred to the West Coast District Dental Assoc. in Tampa at 813-654-2500. The complaint must be about dental work/procedure started or completed within the past year. You may also go to www.wcdental.org Patient Information and Education, “What’s Peer Review” for more information.
If the dentist is not a member, you may contact the Florida Board of Dentistry at 850-681-3629 or 800-877-9922, Better Business Bureau at 727-535-5522 or the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357. If it is an insurance issue contact the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-342-2762.
I want to know more about my dentist. What can the Lee County Dental Society tell me?
If the dentist is a LCDS member (members are listed on this website), be assured the member is in good-standing with the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, the West Coast District Dental Association and the LCDS. The WCDDA (813-654-2500) at times will be able to supply the year graduated from dental school and if the dentist is a specialist. You may visit the public side of the West Coast District Dental Association’s website to look for your dentist at www.wcdental.org.
I understand I get a Peer Review Form mailed to me to file a complaint through the West Coast District Dental Assn. Can’t I just talk to the Peer Review Chair directly to expedite the procedure?
Peer review chairs are practicing dentists who volunteer and donate their time and expertise to review and mediate patient complaints. It is not feasible or fair to expect Peer Review Chairs to interrupt their busy dental practice during the day. Most verbal interactions are conducted after normal business hours.
The Peer Review system has a proven and efficient track record. While it may seem tedious to an individual, the goal at the WCDDA office is to review and mediate a peer review case within 30 days upon receipt of the complaint form.
I have been treated poorly by an office manager (dental assistant, hygienist, etc.). What can I do about this?
Many times dentists are unaware of a “situation” that has occurred. The best thing to do would be to compose a letter to the dentist detailing your concerns. Address it to the dentist directly (keep a copy for your records) and send it certified, return receipt mail. This will assure the letter was indeed delivered and signed for.
I feel I’ve been overcharged by a dentist. What can I do?
Fees in the state of Florida are not regulated. Fees from one dentist office to the next will vary. It is best to have open lines of communication and have a complete understanding of the dental work to be done and the costs involved.
I need a dentist that takes Medicaid.
To acquire a list of dentists in Lee County that take Medicaid, a patient may call the local Medicaid office at 239-338-2620. The LCDS office does not have a list of dentists that accept Medicaid.
I have “XYZ” dental insurance. Can you refer me to a dentist that accepts this insurance?
No, the LCDS does not have a list of all the different insurances dentists accept in their offices. Your insurance provider should be able to provide you with a list of accepted dental providers.
I cannot afford a regular dentist. Are there other options for free or reduced-fee dentistry?
There are several options available in the Lee County area.
- Project Dentist’s Care of S.W. Florida, Inc. is a low-income clinic sponsored by the Lee County Dental Society. PDC is staffed by dentists that volunteer their time on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. A dental assistant is on staff. Extractions, fillings and x-rays are the only procedures performed. If a patient qualifies for PDC the services are free. To apply for PDC and make an appointment a patient may call 239-561-1949.
- Family Health Centers is a federally funded organization that provides medical and dental services for reduced fees. All dental services are performed except oral surgery. For more information and to schedule an appointment a patient may call 239-344-2335.
- Edison State College has a dental hygiene program that provides cleanings and x-rays at a reduced fee. Fees are currently (and subject to change) $45.00 for adults and $35.00 for children. For more information and to schedule an appointment a patient may call 239-985-8334.
- NCEF Pediatric Dental Center is located in Naples, Florida on the Edison State College campus. NCEF is staffed by University of Florida dental faculty and residents. NCEF provides routine dental care, advanced care and specialty services such as sedation and hospital based dentistry to children ages 1 – 21. Various payment options and programs are available. For more information and to make an appointment a patient may call 239-775-3052.
Are there dental schools in Florida?
Yes, there are two:
University of Florida College of Dentistry 352-392-2911 www.dental.ufl.edu
Nova Southeastern College of Dental Medicine 954-262-7500 www.dental.nova.edu
Do dentists have to meet any requirements to keep their licenses?
For renewal of dental licenses, a total of 30 hours of continuing education is required which must include 2 hrs. in the prevention of medical errors. To receive credit, all courses must be taken with board approved providers. In addition to the 30 hrs. dentists must complete a course in HIV/AIDS prior to their first license renewal; a 2 hr. course on domestic violence as part of every third licensure renewal; and a CPR course at the basic life support level to include the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) must be completed and certified or recertified by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross or an entity with equivalent requirements for each licensure renewal.