Patients may sometimes choose to file a complaint with the dental board should they believe that their dentist failed to adhere to standards of the profession. Regardless of whether there is merit to the complaint, dental board complaints can be both costly and time consuming. When a dental board launches an investigation, it can be a huge inconvenience for a practice. Furthermore, the dental board has authority to issue disciplinary actions such as imposing fines, suspending a dentist from practice, and even revoking a practice’s license altogether.
Dental Practice Administrative Complaints
Administrative complaints made against a dental practice are filed with the dental board as it is the governing board for both issuing regulations for dentists and dental assistance as well as enforcement of said regulations. The dental board has quite an involved process for processing complaints and enforcing regulations should a practice be found in violation of said regulations.
First, the board intakes the complaint and distributes copies of the complaint to the relevant departments and can even refer the complaint if it involves other agencies. A file on the complaint is open and an investigation is launched. Next, an initial analysis of the complaint begins. This is an information gathering phase of all information that may be relevant to the complaint. Often, this will involve things like the patient’s dental records detailing the treatment of the patient. Once the analysis is complete, the file is referred to a practicing dentist who works as a consultant for the dental board.
The inspection section of the dental board will inspect any conditions of the dental practice allegedly in violation of regulations. Inspectors for this section can give warnings or citations to a dental practice. For citations found for issues discovered in the dental practice, the practice must remedy the issues and pay a fine as well.
The investigation section of the dental board is tasked with investigating violations of the Dental Practice Act which can include things like the unlicensed practice of dentistry, insurance fraud, and drug violations. Some violations found by the investigators in this section may be referred out to the state’s Office of the Attorney General. Some dentists or dental assistants may end up on probation as part of disciplinary action leveled against them.
The dental board has wide discretion in issuing disciplinary action as a result of administrative complaints leveled against a dentist and their practice. The board may simply issue a reprimand or a written warning. Oher possible disciplinary actions include requiring continuing education or monitoring the practice for a set amount of time. Depending on the severity of the violation, the dental board may issue a fine, suspend a license, or revoke a license. More specific disciplinary action may include requiring drug testing in a dental practice or restricting a dentist or dentist assistance’s ability to practice.