Alabama's Oral Health Advocate

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How can I obtain a copy of my dental records?

A. Though patient records are the dentist's property, the law gives patients the right to the information contained in the records. Be prepared to sign an authorization form for the release of a copy of your records.

The maximum charge for copies of records is spelled out in Alabama law:

  • Search fee of $5
  • Copies of written or typed documents: $1 each page for the first 25 pages, $.50 for additional pages.
  • Actual cost of reproducing x-rays or other "special medical records".
  • Actual cost of mailing the records to the patient.

Q. Is there a difference between a DMD and a DDS degree?

A. DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine and DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. Because of standardized regulation of U.S. dental schools, there is no difference in the educational qualifications of a dentist with a DMD degree and one with a DDS degree. The degrees are now primarily nods to a school's history.

Q. Where can I find low cost dental care?

A. Alabama has many charitable clinics for underserved populations, many of which take patient income under consideration. Click here for more information. (link back to dental clinics)

Q. Why do dentists join ALDA?

A. ALDA members are dentists who have chosen to belong to their professional association. Membership requires that a dentist adhere to certain standards of ethical behavior. Membership allows dentists to receive current information regarding patient health and safety, continuing education, and community service projects. Many ALDA members work diligently with state government advocating for and protecting your rights as a patient.