Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions -- >
  Patient Records

Retrieving patient information
  • May a dentist refuse to give a patient his/her records upon request?
  • Absolutely not. A dentist must give a patient his/her records upon request; however, the dentist may charge a "reasonable" fee for reproduction of these records. This fee should not exceed the costs incurred by the dentist for reproducing all records, including radiographs. To refuse to give a patient his/her records violates the ADA Code of Ethics and Board regulations. Refer to Board Regulation 53 and the ADA Code of Ethics.
  • How many years should patient records be maintained by the dentist?
  • Patient records should be maintained a minimum of seven (7) years from the date of LAST treatment. Refer to Board Regulation 53.
  • What is the Board’s policy concerning electronic recordkeeping?
  • At its 02/11/2000 Board meeting, the Board determined that, at a minimum, it may be wise to maintain a separate patient file containing the following signed and/or original documents: signed patient consent form; signed permission from the patient, parent, or guardian for records release; and signed medical health history form. (Refer to Board Regulation 53). Although it is NOT REQUIRED to maintain paper copies of the aforementioned documents, it may be wise for the dentist to consider this as a backup option, inasmuch as unless electronic files are backed up reliably on a regular basis, the dentist may lose this valuable information and, thus, not be in compliance with Board Regulation 53. The following policy statement was adopted by the Board at its 02/11/2000 meeting:
  • For the protection of both the licensed dentist and the patient, the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners strongly urges all licensed dentists to maintain, at a minimum, properly executed, non-electronic paper copies of the following documents: patient consent form, permission for release of records, and medical health history form.
  • What happens if I have to provide a patient's radiographs to another dentist, an insurance company, or the patient?
  • Always maintain radiographs in a patient's file even if the patient is referred to another dentist, you have to transmit radiographs to an insurance company, or the patient requests a copy of his/her complete file. Failure to maintain copies of ALL documents in a patient's file, including diagnostic quality radiographs, may subject the dentist to being in violation of Board Regulation 53.