Patient Rights


  • You have a right to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment.
  •  You have a right to ask about treatment alternatives and be told, in language you can understand, the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  •  You have a right to know the education and training of your dentist and the dental team.
  •  You have a right to know in advance the type and expected cost of treatment.
  •  You have a right to expect dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.
  •  You have a right to ask your dentist to explain all the treatment options regardless of coverage or cost.
  •  You have a right to be treated in a professional and ethical manner by your dentist and dental team.
  •  You should have a right to schedule an appointment with the dentist of your choice.

(Adopted by the Pennsylvania Dental Association in 1998)


The American Dental Association has supported legislation that will set a few basic rules to promote high-quality care and protect patients in an increasingly bottom line-driven health care system.

ADA member dentists have been instrumental in moving the patients’ rights issue into the national spotlight. The nation appears closer than ever to finally seeing a comprehensive patients’ bill of rights passed into law.

While Congress debates various versions of patient rights legislation, the insurance and managed care industries have long supported legislation that would fail to protect all privately insured Americans against unfair delays and denials of coverage by their health plans, according to the ADA. Some ill-fated bills left out critical protections, such as guaranteeing people the option of choosing their own doctors or creating mechanisms to address patients’ grievances against health plans. One proposal even omitted freestanding dental plans, which could have left more than 120 million dental patients without these vital protections.

The American Dental Association continues to lobby for the enactment of bipartisan legislation to help ensure that health plans treat patients fairly and do not discriminate against dentists. Here are some of the key issues identified by the ADA:

  •  Coverage for freestanding dental plans, which account for the vast majority of Americans who have dental coverage.
  •  Patient choice, by guaranteeing access to at least one plan with a point-of-service option that allows patients the opportunity to choose their own doctors.

Health plan accountability, through the availability of impartial, external review and by holding plans accountable when their decisions to delay or deny care harm patients.


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