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What recourse do I have against an AACD-accredited dentist who did shoddy and careless work? I drove two and a half hours to see a dentist who advertises on his website as being an AACD accredited and even asserts his AACD accreditation in response to bad internet reviews. (I see that he is not a recommended dentist on your website).
I asked the dentist to repair some limited damage done by a previous dentist to a front tooth which should have been a simple job. Instead, this dentist remodeled the entire tooth leaving me with a bizarrely shaped and dysfunctional tooth. Running late, he also did not blend in or smooth down the added composite or polish the rough edges left where he had removed composite. He ran out of the room, saying that I would have to come back since he had run out of time. When I did go back he would only agree to “wax” the tooth and in the course of doing that he chipped the adjacent tooth.
I went to the AACD website and was shocked to find that membership in AACD requires only that the dentist pay dues and that the requirements for accreditation (beyond paying dues) are not what most people would consider all that strenuous. I could not determine what this dentist needed to do to gain accreditation because his accreditation took place over 20 years ago. As for what dentists like him need to do to keep their accreditation active the answer is not very much. There is a requirement that the dentist maintain ethical standards (details only available to members) but this is obviously not enforced since this dentist has been sanctioned by the state dentistry board for serious unethical conduct.
Any advice? Thanks.
(I don’t want to disclose Julie’s location because that could make it possible to identify the dentist involved here, and that isn’t my purpose. Julie also used the first letter of his last name in her question, and I have edited that out.)
While you didn’t give the dentist’s name, I’m pretty sure I know who you are talking about. Even though he is accredited I do not recommend him on my website. He and his staff were inexplicably rude to me when I tried to discuss that on the phone with him, so I didn’t list him. I’ve had some association with him over the years.
You are correct that membership in the AACD requires only the payment of dues. But accreditation is a different matter. The AACD accreditation standards are fairly stringent and have been for many years, and there has been a large failure rate for those applying to become accredited. This dentist was accredited some years after I was, and I know there was a lot of complaining during that time about the difficulty of the accreditation exams. The failure rate was around 60-70%, as I remember it, maybe more. There was no written exam required at that time, but there was a difficult clinical exam and a scary oral exam. But you are right–once they are accredited they pretty much stay accredited. And the accreditation exam only assesses a dentist’s knowledge and skill, not his ethics.
I would make the AACD office aware of this disciplinary action by the state dental board, and beyond that I don’t think there is much you can do about his accreditation. I looked up that issue he had, and my guess is that the AACD people didn’t think it was serious enough to boot out one of their accredited members. But one thing you can do is let the public know about your experience by leaving negative online reviews. I see that this dentist already has a negative one-star Yelp review that validates my impression of him and his office. I think that’s the review you’re referring to, where the response from the office is that he is AACD accredited. You could add yours to that. When more than one person makes a similar complaint, people tend to take it seriously.
A little tip on leaving Yelp reviews–if you do just one Yelp review, the reviews tend to be deleted after a week or two. So to establish your legitimacy as a Yelp reviewer, space out a couple more reviews of other businesses that you like. Or become a regular Yelper–Yelp reviews are very helpful.
I hope this is helpful.
– Dr. Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.