It is possible for patients to lose or misplace dental records. If this is the case, finding those dental records depends on contacting dentists and dental offices. Narrowing down the possible location of the records through contacting dental offices and dental care providers may make the search for missing records easier. Once it is determined that a particular dentist holds the records, it is common for the patient to pay for the copying or recreation of the records. Sometimes, the patient must file a release or transfer form before the dentist can release the missing records.
Compile a list of all dentist's you have visited. If you are unsure of exactly which offices you visited, then make a list of all of your recent home addresses. The zip codes and other address information can be used to find contact information for nearby dentists. Contact nearby dentists and aks if they have your name on record and if you have been a patient there. Another option is to contact your dental care provider if you have one. Your provider can tell you which dentists you have visited.
Contact your dentist or dentists once you have located them and request that you be given the originals or copies of your dental records. Dentists should have the originals or copies of your missing records. Some dentists insist that they keep the originals of the records and only allow patients to take copies of the records, since the records are shared property.
Ask the dentist's office if there is a fee associated with the release of the records. In some cases, dentists charge for the cost of duplicating the records. The costs may be minimal in some instances or may be more expensive in others, depending on the dentist's fee and the number of records you need copied.
Fill out and submit the appropriate dental record release or request form if you simply want access to your records for your own use. This form may be offered by your dentist or by the state you live in. If you desire the records to be sent to another dentist or specialist, you may have to fill out a transfer consent form. This form often includes the name and address of the recipient dentist or specialist.
Secure the records. If the records are released to you, keep them in a dry, safe place. The records should not be shared with those who are not licensed and certified dental or medical practitioners. If the records go missing again, you may repeat the process.
- If it appears that your records were stolen and not simply misplaced, you may want to consider consulting professionals or law enforcement agencies regarding the whereabouts of your documents. Dental records can be used for identification purposes, and having your records stolen might be the same as having your identification card stolen.
- If a dentist has already released original dental records to you and you have misplaced them, he or she may still hold duplicates of those originals in their records and you may be able to request copies of those. If not, you may be required to undergo more examinations for the recreation of your records.
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