Dentist License Defense - Maryland

Navigating Dentistry in Maryland & and the Obstacles Faced by Dental Professionals

Dentists who live and work in Maryland share a common goal of offering top-tier dental care to state residents. Unfortunately, they also share a common challenge: Avoiding any complaints or allegations against them and their practices that can throw a wrench in their ability to provide stellar care for their patients.

It can be surprisingly easy to find yourself at the center of an investigation by one of Maryland's licensing bureaus. After all, mistakes happen. Miscommunications occur. And, even if you're not at all responsible for the alleged violations, just being associated with an investigation can harm your reputation for years to come — making it far more difficult than necessary to progress in your career.

At the Lento Law Firm, we understand the invaluable role that you play in safeguarding your community members' oral health. We also understand that the dental profession can bring with it unique pressures and intricate regulatory guidelines. When Maryland's dentists are at the center of frustrating disciplinary situations, the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is ready to help you protect your license, your ability to practice dentistry, and your entire professional future. Call our team at 888.535.3686 or submit the details of your case online, and a member of our team will promptly assist you.

Navigating Maryland's Dental Regulatory Landscape

When you're under investigation for license-related challenges, it can be difficult to figure out exactly which board or licensing entity in Maryland you need to be talking to. (There are several.)

This quick rundown of the various authorities overseeing dental practices in Maryland should help:

  • The Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners, or the MSBDE, is the main regulatory group overseeing dentists and dental hygienists in your state. It's located in Baltimore and is responsible for licensing, setting professional standards, and investigating any complaints.
  • The Maryland Department of Health, or MDH, isn't specific to dentistry per se but does play a role in managing any public health concerns that may be associated with dental care cases.
  • The Maryland State Dental Association, or MSDA, isn't an official regulatory body — but it does help set professional norms and provide ongoing educational opportunities.

If you receive communication from any of these entities about upcoming deadlines (particularly for ongoing education!) or complaints about your professional conduct that could affect your license, you need to take it seriously! It's easy to dismiss these types of notifications as merely administrative, but as it turns out, these license-related challenges can have a big impact on you and your future.

The True Authority of the MSBDE in Dentist Discipline

The MSBDE oversees virtually every aspect of dental regulation in Maryland. It has broad powers to help ensure high standards of dental care.

Here's a short list of the various powers the MSBDE has that could influence you and your license:

  1. First and foremost, the MSBDE oversees licensing. It grants initial licenses, processes license renewals, and can deny, revoke, or suspend licenses for anyone who does not meet its educational and professional standards.
  2. The MSBDE also has investigatory powers. If the MSBDE receives a complaint or otherwise becomes aware of a dentist's potential responsibility for behavior in violation of one of its standards, the MSBDE can initiate an investigation into that dentist or even their practice. With this authority, the MSBDE can review patient records, conduct interviews, and more.
  3. The MSBDE can impose sanctions. If, after an investigation, the MSBDE believes it has reason to believe a dentist actually is in violation of a rule or regulation, the MSBDE can deliver written warnings, require completion of training or education, or even suspend or revoke a license.

At the end of the day, remember this: Don't underestimate the MSBDE or any information it might send your way. If you're under investigation, you need to take action quickly to ensure that even an innocuous-seeming rap on the wrist doesn't become something far more damaging to you and your career.

Safeguarding Your Career in Dentistry: The Impact of License-Related Discipline in Maryland

If you get caught up in disciplinary measures that affect your license, you'll likely feel the aftereffects for years to come.

For example, just some of the longer-term impacts of your license-related discipline could include:

  • Damage done to your reputation. Even minor disciplinary actions can tarnish your reputation and make it difficult to attract new patients. This can also make it harder to secure partnerships or become a part of dental networks in your area.
  • Financial implications. If you face disciplinary actions, you could risk netting hefty fees or fines. You may also not be able to practice for a while if your license gets suspended or revoked — and, with any damage done to your reputation, you might also lose patients.
  • The mental and emotional toll of being under constant scrutiny. Facing the MSBDE carries with it a significant amount of stress—coupled with the possibility of potential professional isolation. That's a lot for anyone to handle.

Remember, just because the MSBDE sees fit to start investigating you doesn't mean that you can't take action to pursue a better outcome. The board is, after all, comprised of humans. The Board members can overlook critical evidence, misinterpret information, and even be influenced by myriad external factors.

The Lento Law Firm Team is here to help you ensure that the board follows its own processes to a T when determining your responsibility for the alleged violations. We also plan to take the bulk of your burden off your shoulders, so you don't have to worry about legal complications or determining the most persuasive angle possible for your argument.

Common Grounds for Disciplinary Action Against Dentists in Maryland

Wondering exactly how a Maryland dentist might merit the type of investigatory oversight and sanctions we've been discussing?

There are several types of actions that could lead to sanctioning for dentists in Maryland. These potential violations include:

  1. Incompetence (or gross negligence). For example, a patient or colleague may be able to cite potential negligence if a dentist fails to diagnose an apparent dental condition or disease. If someone can demonstrate that your ostensibly negligent behavior deviated significantly from accepted standards of care, that could result in disciplinary action.
  2. Unprofessional conduct. This is a very general category of potential complaint that could range from false advertising to the failure to obtain informed consent or even violating patient confidentiality.
  3. Substance abuse. If someone can allege that your use of alcohol or controlled substances impairs your professional competence, the board may be concerned and want to know more.
  4. Fraudulent practices. If you engage in deceitful billing practices, present false credentials, or conduct treatments you're not authorized to conduct, that can lead to severe repercussions.
  5. Continuing education violations. Maryland takes its mandated ongoing learning requirements seriously. If you do not meet these requirements, you may face disciplinary measures.
  6. Inappropriate relationships with patients. Any type of advance toward a patient or dual relationships are prohibited and will attract the attention of the MSBDE.

The allegations against you do not have to be true to damage your career. Moreover, you can't assume that because the truth's on your side, the MSBDE will be able to see that and leave your license alone! If a patient, colleague, or anyone else files an allegation of any of the above against you, reach out to the Lento Law Firm Team for assistance at once.

The Adjudication Process: What Happens After a Complaint Gets Filed?

Once the MSBDE learns about a potential violation, it'll undertake a series of steps to assess the validity of the complaint and work toward resolution. Here's a general timeline of what to expect:

  1. First, the MSBDE will review the initial complaint and conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether or not the board wants to learn more. Depending on the nature of the complaint, this initial investigation may involve speaking to involved parties and even gathering relevant evidence.
  2. If the board determines that the complaint is valid, the MSBDE will hold an informal conference. You, as the accused dentist, will be invited to this conference to discuss the complaint with a representative from the MSBDE. This will be your first opportunity to tell your side of the story. (In most cases, legal representation is allowed in this informal meeting.)
  3. If the complaint is minor or if you are able to demonstrate your lack of responsibility for the complaint against you, you may be able to come to a resolution at this time — perhaps with the MSBDE requiring you to take training or something similarly doable but without any formal, hard-hitting repercussions.
  4. Alternatively, the board may take this opportunity to pursue the complaints further and schedule a formal administrative hearing. In this hearing, the board may call in witnesses, review evidence, and more. At the end of this hearing, the MSBDE will render its decision and, if applicable, recommend sanctions.

Fortunately, if you do not agree with the board's assessment, the road doesn't necessarily end here. You may be able to work with our team to file a strong, persuasive appeal.

Championing Your Right to Appeal: Navigating the Appeals Pathway for Maryland Dentists

If, after reviewing your case with our attorneys, you wish to proceed with an appeal, you'll likely tackle some version of the following sequence of events:

  1. You'll file a request for reconsideration with the MSBDE. Within a certain period of time (usually just a handful of business days), you'll need to notify the MSBDE that you'll be appealing its decision. This allows the MSBDE time to review its decision.
  2. Then, you'll file a formal appeal. This appeal might go to the MSBDE, or if you need to escalate, you'll file the appeal with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (or the OAH). The OAH will review the MSBDE's decision and determine whether another outcome would make sense.
  3. If you disagree with the OAH's assessment, you may be able to escalate your case further to the Circuit Court, the Court of Special Appeals, or even higher courts as needed. Each of these steps will require a lot of paperwork, logistics, high-stakes conversations, and a very good argument to go with your appeal. At the Lento Law Firm, we will do what it takes to ensure that you approach each step with the best possible strategy.

Navigating Dentist License Defense in Maryland with the Lento Law Firm

If you're facing sanctions or disciplinary actions as a Maryland dentist, you may (justifiably!) feel very overwhelmed. Going through the intricate steps of untangling licensing issues takes a lot of dedicated time and specific experience. Not to mention the fact that, since your future and reputation are hanging in the balance, you'll be nervous and even scared the entire time you're working to figure out what's going on!

That's where the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm comes in. Our team is proud to serve dentists who work all across Maryland's major metro areas, including:

  • Baltimore
  • Frederick
  • Rocksfille
  • Gaithersburg
  • Bowie
  • …and beyond!

If you do not live in any of these metro areas but are a Maryland dentist, please reach out. The Lento Law Firm Team is ready to assist dentists nationwide and anywhere in the state of Maryland.

We also understand that every case is unique and are ready to listen to your side of your story to help put together a compelling argument for you. We're ready to leverage our in-depth knowledge of Maryland's dental laws and regulations to help you retain or reclaim your Maryland dental license. If you're ready to start working toward a better outcome today, call the Professional License Defense Team at 888.535.3686 or go online to tell us more about your case.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.