Frequently Asked Questions


Is this a dental office? What is the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society?

No, the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society (SBVCDS) is not a dental office.  We are a professional organization dentists belong to.  Not all dentists are members of the Society, and a dentist does not have to be a Society member to practice dentistry in the state of California.  For the public we give referrals to dentists who are members, and field patient questions and complaints, and for dentists, we provide professional and business support.

What does it mean if a dentist is a member of the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society, the California Dental Association, and the American Dental Association?

The membership is a tripartite; in other words, if a dentist belongs to one of the above associations, they automatically belong to all three. To become a member, a dentist must agree to a Code of Ethics and all dental licenses, and the dental schools attended by the dentist are researched and confirmed.

What is the difference between DDS and DMD?

Dentists may receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.  These two degrees are equivalent; it is up to the dental school to decide what they want to call the degree they confer.  Dentists who complete required training in recognized specialty fields receive post-graduate certificates.

What is the Dental Board of California, and what does it do?

The Dental Board of California is the licensing board for dentists and hygienists.  The Dental Board oversees the rules and regulations of dentistry, and also reviews patient complaints.  Their phone number is (916) 263-2300.

What's the policy on dental records?

Upon a patient's written request, dentists must release a copy of that patient's records to the patient or to another dental office.  By law, the dentist keeps the original.  The dentist has 15 days to comply with the request.  The furnishing of copies may not be conditioned upon payment, or upon an unpaid or disputed fee for services rendered.  A dentist may charge the patient for the actual costs incurred in copying records and x-rays.  Payment of copying fees may be required upon delivery of the copy.

Who do I call to make a complaint against a dentist?

You may contact the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society office with complaints against a Member Dentist.  The Society has jurisdiction over complaints regarding the quality of the dental work started or completed, and the appropriateness of treatment.  If the dentist is not a member, the Society has no jurisdiction over them; you may instead contact the Dental Board of California at (916) 263-2300.

I want to know more about my dentist, what can the SBVCDS tell me?

If the dentist is a Member Dentist, you can be assured that the member is in good standing with the California Dental Association and the American Dental Association.  We can tell you their office(s) location and phone number, financial arrangements offered, types of anesthesia used, language(s) spoken, and specific services offered, as well as the number of years the dentist has been in practice and the years and names of dental schools attended.

I have been treated poorly by an office manager (dental assistant, hygienist, etc.).  What can I do about this?

Your dentist may be unaware of a situation that has occurred.  We recommend first communicating directly with your dentist regarding your dissatisfaction.  You may want to compose a letter outlining your concerns, address it to the dentist directly (keeping a copy for yourself), and send it certified, return receipt mail.  This will assure the letter's correct delivery.  You may also contact the Society for specific guidance.

I feel like I've been overcharged by a dentist.  What can I do?

Fees in the state of California are not regulated.  Fees from one dental office to another will vary.  For these reasons, it is important to establish frank communication with your dentist regarding the extent and costs of the proposed course of treatment BEFORE treatment begins.

I need a dentist who takes Denti-Cal / Medi-Cal.

The best source of Denti-Cal/Medi-Cal dental referrals is the State of California's Department of Health at (800) 322-6384.





Back to Top