Maintaining your Dental Records

Maintaining your dental records with Record Nations

Manage your dental records with Record Nations

Some laws require dental practices to produce and maintain adequate patient records. Failure to do so can expose the practice to significant risks and liabilities.

After scanning and indexing your dental records into an electronic medical record (EMR) system, it is important to maintain an organized record management plan that will cover your practice in case of a lawsuit or audit. Here are some of the best practices to keep your digital dental records organized and your practice compliant.

8 Ways to Properly Maintain Your Dental Records

Carefully Correct Mistakes or Omissions in Dental Records

Never delete, erase, or white out entries, and do not leave blank lines or spaces with the intent of adding more information later. These actions may be construed as evidence of improper alteration. Instead, draw a single line through any error, then date and initial the entry for verification. In addition, all boxes and blanks should be completed/filled in.

Document Any Refusal of Treatment

While a dentist will recommend the best course of action, it remains the choice of the patient whether or not to follow the advice. If a patient does not follow the recommendations of a dentist, the dentist needs to make a detailed note of the event in the patient’s records

Stick to The Facts

Because patient records become the first source of evidence in the unfortunate event of malpractice litigation, it is imperative that nothing in a patient record can be viewed in the wrong context. To avoid embarrassment, liability, or the need for uncomfortable explanations, keep patient records as objective as possible.

Separate Financial Information From Patient Records

Financial information does not belong in the dental record. Keep all financial documents in a separate folder and filing system. It is inappropriate to include insurance benefit details, payment records, or any other pecuniary information in a patient’s clinical record.


You should properly identify confidential information as such and keep it out of view of unauthorized parties. For digital records, document management systems allow for access controls for internal access as well as encryption for external access.

Perform Document Purges

HIPAA and other applicable laws require shredding hard copies of confidential documents and X-rays, preferably by a professional shredding service. Be sure to obtain a confidentiality agreement that clearly states the date and method of destruction.

Completely Destroy Electronic Files

Be aware that simply deleting e-mails or electronic documents is not sufficient. When you press “delete” on a file, the raw data file remains on the hard drive. Even if you “wipe” the device, thieves can still recover the data through simple software. Hard drive destruction services ensure that your data is completely unrecoverable.

Consult the ADA website

The American Dental Association has valuable guidance on these and other issues available online at

Let Record Nations Help You With Dental Records Management Today!

It is important to find a company you can trust to help you manage your patient records.  Our goal is to make the process of retrieving records as easy and painless as possible.  To get started, fill out the form, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706.  Within minutes of receiving your request, you will have free quotes from experts in your area who can help you find the right scanning, destruction, and storage services for your practice.

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