Dentist Quits Practice Abruptly: Patients Left With Mouths Wide Open

Is it unreasonable to assume that as a patient of a health practitioner, I would be notified if the practice were relocating, the doctor was retiring, selling the practice or any such action? Well, not so for my husband’s recent visit to our dentist. We moved to Georgia in 2006 and like everyone else who relocates, the tedious and sometimes frustrating journey begins to find new doctors, dentists, specialists and the like. In order to avoid such incidents, you can do your research online. For instance, the link cosmetic dentist san Mateo will provide you details about some of the experienced dentists that are there in the region. Before you consult them the ratings and patient reviews are surely going to help you.

Added to that, you have to write signed letters to the former medical practitioner to send your records to your new health practitioner. These procedures take time and diligence as well as perseverance. Once you have completed all the steps, you then breathe a sigh of relief, believing that you will hopefully not have to change practitioners in the foreseeable future. Well, we quickly found out not always is that a realistic expectation.

My husband went for his regularly scheduled quarterly dental appointment only to be greeted by the receptionist’s request to complete a set of forms. He questioned the receptionist and stated that these forms had already been completed on previous visits. The receptionist gave a reason that seemed plausible so there was no further discussion.

My husband’s first shock was walking into the office. Normally, because our former dentist had separate offices for children and adults, my husband proceeded to walk in the doorway for the adult office when he was politely asked by the receptionist “Can I help you?” He explained that he was going to the usual entrance but was told that everyone would sign in at a central desk, no separate offices anymore. He observed the entire office had been remodeled and the staff was new.

He knew no one. The title of the practice was changed and a new dentist was in charge. At first, we thought our dentist had added a partner but quickly found out that was not the case. No explanation was given by the new staff as to what had transpired between my husband’s appointment three months ago and his present appointment. Admittedly, my husband did not directly ask because he felt the staff would not have volunteered the information.

Troubled by the change and not being informed of the status of our former dentist and staff, I decided to call our local dental referral service to see what I could learn. Unfortunately, our dentist did not list with the dental referral agency so no information was available. I then called the Georgia State Dental Association and a sympathetic staff member understood our feelings of abandonment and stated she, too, had once experienced the same scenario. She looked into her database and also reported that there were no details on my particular dentist because he had not listed as a member, which is apparently a voluntary action on the part of the dentist.

She explained that although she did not know the particulars of my dentist’s actions, that often when a dentist sells his practice, he also is required to leave the patients’ files for the new dentist and he is not allowed to reveal to the patients that he is leaving as a contractual condition. She further advised that I could contact the State Board of Examiners for Dentistry to see if they could shed light on our dentist’s status.

It appears that this course of action occurs more commonly than we had imagined. Whenever I have had a change in health practitioners, I have always been notified by the practitioner the reason for the change be it retirement, adding a partner, or selling the practice.

I suppose in Georgia there is no regard for informing the patient of future actions. I have an appointment in January and I intend to ask the person how did the change occurs and see if they will be forthcoming with information. By that time, things would have settled and perhaps the staff will be willing to speak about the matter.

Nevertheless, because I do not wish to go through searching for a new dentist, I will give the new dentist a chance. My husband states he is a young dentist and was cordial. Hopefully, he is right. A word of caution to all: Be on guard that the health practitioner you see today may not be the health practitioner you see tomorrow.


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