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Dental Records & The Law

Record keeping is one of the most important aspects of risk management. Here’s what you need to know… 
  • Individual situations will vary – this information is provided for general guidance only.
  • Regardless of any specific legal requirement, it is best practice to keep all your dental records for as long as possible.
  • Whilst the law may sometimes define a minimum requirement, it is no crime to exceed that limit and you may well be very glad that you did.
  • This page also provides advice on recording discussions about fees.
  • Is there any legal requirement which determines the length of time that dentists need to keep their patients’ clinical records in South Africa?

  • Are there any legal obligations about the storage of dental records?

  • Are there any legal requirements about disposal of either paper or computer-held records?

  • Under what circumstances do dentists have an obligation to disclose their records and if so, who may be authorised to request such disclosure?

  • Does the patient have a right to a copy of their records and if so what conditions might apply to such a request?

  • Should practitioners obtain written consent from patients regarding their fees or record any discussions regarding fees?

  • How can I ensure my records are of a good standard?