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All dental professionals take an oath to provide the best, most honest, and most comprehensive care to each patient who comes through the door. Every dental appointment opens the door to potential legal ramifications if a patient feels their dental professional works in an unethical manner, which leaves professionals at risk of losing their dental license. When a dental professional is accused of being unethical or unprofessional in the office, it opens the door to a myriad of legal issues that require the assistance of an experienced dental license defense attorney.
How Complaints Work
Every state is different, but most states require any complaint filed against a dental professional goes through the Dental Board in the state where the professional is licensed. The Board reviews the complaint to verify the veracity of the complaint as well as the person issuing the complaint. All dental professionals undergoing investigation by the board as the result of a complaint receive notification of the investigation immediately. This allows the professional a chance to obtain legal counsel for the ongoing investigation.
The most common complaints filed against dental professionals across the country include the following:
– Drug abuse
– Alcohol abuse
– Gross negligence
– Criminal activity
– Gross ineptitude
Anyone with any contact with the licensed dental professionals in any office have a legal right to file a complaint with the state board if they suspect a dental professional is not adhering to the ethical and/or legal requirements of the profession. This includes patients, family members of patients, employees, suppliers, and even health-care providers who work with the office and the professionals employed in the office.
What Happens During Investigation
The opening of an investigation against a dental professional doesn’t automatically mean the professional will lose his or her license. It means an investigation is performed to determine the accuracy and truth of the investigation. It’s not always damaging to the professional as not all investigations show the professional is doing anything wrong. However, being investigated for any misconduct in the office is devastating to anyone with a dental license. A dental license defense attorney works to disprove the complaints filed against a particular professional to reduce the risk of their license being either suspended or revoked at the end of the investigation.
The risks associated with a complaint and investigation of this nature include a dental professional’s license being revoked, which affects his or her entire livelihood. Now is not the time to forgo legal assistance. The investigation is broken down into two parts.
1. Inspection: When a complaint is filed against a dental professional, it’s forwarded to inspectors within the state’s Dental Board. Inspectors perform a thorough inspection of the facility in which the dental professional works as a way of ensuring that the equipment is up-to-date and in working order, hygienic practices are being met, and whether conditions in and around the office are hazardous or harmful in any way. If the inspectors find the facility is not adhering to basic laws, fines are issued, the dental professional has to pay them, and the conditions found unsatisfactory must be handled or the office faces further legal issues.
2. Investigation: This only occurs if a dental professional is accused of criminal activity. When this type of complaint is filed, investigators comb through every piece of available information provided to the board, as well as any information the office and the dental professional has anything to do with. Guilty parties are then reported to the local District Attorney so the state can begin preparing for a case.
Following guilt on any level, dental professionals are placed on a period of probation that prohibits them from using their dental license in any legal capacity. As the investigation continues, charges are filed, and a judge makes a final decision, it could mean revocation of a license. This means the party in question loses his or her dental license and is no longer legal able to work in the same industry again. Notice of complaint against a dental professional is the time when it’s appropriate to seek legal counsel to protect future lifestyles, work, and life for the accused party.