Have Concerns About A Dentist?

The College relies on you to help us protect the public by raising concerns about dentists and their treatment. There are two ways the College can follow up on your concerns:

  1. Through a complaint investigation, or
  2. The College can initiate a registrar’s investigation.

What’s the difference between filing a complaint and giving information to the College?

If you make a complaint, we will inform you about the investigation, and you will receive a copy of the decision and reasons of the reviewing committee, called the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).  The dentist will be notified about your complaint and will have an opportunity to respond. 

If you do not want to make a complaint, but want to share information with us, we will review the information you give us. We will give the information to the Registrar & CEO of the College, who will decide whether to initiate an investigation called a Registrar’s Investigation. You will not be informed about the status of the investigation and will not receive a copy of the decision of the ICRC.

In either case please be aware you cannot provide information anonymously.

You can submit your concerns or make a complaint by:

How do I make a complaint?

You can file the complaint on your behalf or on behalf of someone else such as a family member or a friend. If you’re filing a complaint on behalf of someone else, you will be asked to (1) submit the complaint form and (2) documents that confirm your authority to represent the patient and receive information on their behalf.

If you decide to complain, you will be asked to provide:

  • your full name and complete contact information (address, phone number, and email)
  • name and practice address of the dentist(s)
  • a detailed description of your concerns (for example, what happened, when did it happen, by whom, etc.)
  • name and address of other dentists, health care practitioners, or other persons that you may have consulted.

How is my complaint investigated?

  1. We will contact you to confirm the issues you want us to investigate.
  2. We will notify the dentist of your complaint. When we receive your complaint, a copy will be forwarded to the dentist.
  3. An investigator gathers information. The investigator may interview relevant witnesses such as dental hygienists, other dentists, dental clinic staff, and your family or friends who have information about your dental care. The investigator will usually ask for a copy of your dental records and other relevant documents. The purpose of the investigation is to get the facts about your concerns, in an unbiased and neutral way. 
  4. Your dentist will be given a chance to respond to the complaint. Your name, your concerns, and the information gathered by the investigator will be shared with the dentist. The College does not accept anonymous complaints.
  5. The investigator then submits the investigation to the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC). The ICRC may ask the investigator to get more information. If it has enough information to decide, the ICRC can deal with your complaint. The list below describes what it can do. You and the dentist will receive a copy of the ICRC's decision and its reasons.

    How will the ICRC deal with my complaint?

    The ICRC may or may not take further action. If it decides to take action, it can take any of the following measures to improve the dentist’s practice, conduct, or competence and/or to protect the public:

    • Give advice or recommendations to the dentist
    • Ask the dentist to enter into a voluntary remedial agreement
    • Order the dentist to take courses or other education/remediation
    • Issue a formal caution
    • Come to an agreement with the dentist, called an “undertaking,” about how they will improve or restrict their practice.
    • Refer the concerns about the dentist to the College’s Discipline Committee.

    How we communicate

    We will communicate with you respectfully and professionally. We appreciate making a complaint can be stressful. We ask that you communicate with us in the same manner as we communicate with you. Rudeness, harassment, or abusive behaviour towards our staff will not be accepted.

    Accessibility and Accommodation

    If you would like to have an accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”), please speak with the staff person assigned to your case about how we can assist you. You may need to provide some paperwork to support your request.

    You can access the Code here