Dentists Often Disappointed by Peer Review

Post your comments about dental peer review to our blog.

Dental Peer Review Survey ResultsIn our most recent survey, we asked dentists if they have been disappointed by dental peer review.
Respondents were split on the issue; 47% reported having problems, while the remaining 53% had no issues with dental boards. “I think it is a fair process to both the patient and the dentist,” commented one dentist. Another disagreed, saying, “The dentist is assumed guilty; it’s a witch hunt even if you are innocent.”


Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts on cosmetic dentistry.


General dentists versus specialists

Specialists were significantly less likely than general dentists to have had trouble with dental board peer review. Though half of general dentists (51%) reported problems, only 14% of specialists did.


Urban, suburban and rural dentists

Geographical location was not highly correlated with results. However, urban dentists were the most likely to complain about dental peer review.

For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments!

Seems to me peer review is working just fine…

  • “I am unfamiliar with any abuses.” (Wisconsin general dentist)
  • “I have only had one experience with this system and it seemed to work as it should have.” (Massachusetts general dentist)
  • “I think it is a fair process to both the patient and the dentist. I am on my local district peer review committee and we all go out of our way to ensure
    all parties are treated fairly.” (Tennessee general dentist)
  • “As a peer reviewer, I have seen colleagues who have truly committed malpractice however they are unwilling to admit their errors to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict with their patient. They would rather force the patient into litigation on the chance that the patient would not have the
    financial means to sue them. What ever happened to ‘do no harm’ and keeping the best interest of the patient in site?” (North Carolina prosthodontist)

Sometimes peer review truly is abused

  • “Delta of Michigan uses the Peer Review System as their complaint department!” (Michigan general dentist)
  • “In Florida, the dentist is assumed guilty. It’s a witch hunt even if you are innocent. The hygiene members were very caustic towards all members
    coming before the board.” (Florida general dentist)
  • “I have had an experience where the goal was just to appease the patient ignoring what the facts showed.” (Texas general dentist)
  • “It is a sham!” (New Jersey dental office worker)
  • “In the south, the good-ole boy network is rampant. My last experience caused me to drop ADA-organized dentistry due to the lack of knowledge on the part of the ‘peers’ reviewing this patient’s case. How can an endodontist be a peer in a removable prosthetic case? There is a lot of decision-making that has to do with how well your golf game compares to the reviewer’s…” (South Carolina general dentist)

Patients versus doctors

  • “Not impartial and fair, just interested in giving money back to the patients.” (Nevada general dentist)
  • “Peer review is mostly to the benefit of the patient not the doctor.” (Massachusetts general dentist)
  • “There seem to be too many frivolous claims being passed on to peer review/dental boards.” (Missouri general dentist)
  • “It is a defusing process for an angry patient who may or may not be an honest person.” (Georgia general dentist)
  • “Only unhappy because the patient did not listen to peer panel.” (New Hampshire generaldentist)
  • “Probably biased in favor of the dentist. Probably not abused by patients.” (Mississippi general dentist))

Peer review is better than going to court

  • “Far better than getting involved in the judicial system!” (Endodontist)
  • “The process went well, BUT legally the finality of the process does not prevent further action by a disgruntled patient.” (North Carolina general dentist)

Who are these dentists on Peer Review committees?

  • “Those who can, do. Those that can’t, teach…or most of ’em. The rest of them sit on Peer Reviews, and grovel in their power. At least in my my ‘good ole boy’ suck-up-to-the-specialists state. How’s that for my subtle opinion?” (North Carolina general dentist)
  • “They do not check out the complaints to verify if they are valid before launching into a review. They are extremely old-fashioned dentists on the
    board who do not practice in a dental office.”
  • “The weenies that are anal enough to be on most peer review committees are so frightened to confront the combative patient that they typically ALWAYS side with the patient no matter how ridiculous the situation.” (Nevada general dentist)

A dentist who should have been found at fault

  • “I had a new patient to my practice who had 4 dental implants (2 per side) placed into the inferior alveloar nerve bilaterally, causing permanent numbness on her lower jaw on both sides. I immediately referred her to an oral surgeon who removed 2 implants and was monitoring the other 2. The patient took the former dentist to per review, and the dentist got off because peer review said there were worse things going on by other dentists!” (California general dentist)

A dentist who was unfairly found at fault

  • “The current system is inherently unjust in that the accused dentist has no right to cross examine his accuser. The peer review panel acts as a quasi-judicial body and the findings cannot be appealed. They can make judgments that fly in the face of scientific fact to try to appease the patient. In my case, the patient refused treatment that would have prevented the damage to a successful result. Despite his informed written refusal, peer review said that because the result did not last for three years, I was at fault. The case involved protection of crown and bridge with a night guard in a know bruxing habit. I know of no scientific evidence that states that any tooth or restoration should stand up to forces significantly outside the normal envelop of forces. Peer review ignored this to award a refund of fees to the patient, despite the patient’s acknowledgement that he was told that his case would fail without protection.” (California general dentist)

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