As one of the ten most populous states in the nation, Georgia is a fantastic place to launch a career in dentistry. There's no shortage of talented dental professionals in the region, but skilled dentists in Georgia often encounter potential threats to their ability to practice due to sanctions.
The Lento Law Firm Team recognizes the demanding nature of the dental profession and the importance of retaining proficient dentists within the field. Our team is dedicated to advocating on behalf of dentists like you, understanding that regulatory bodies may not always fully comprehend a dentist's situation or the context of their case.
Whether stemming from misunderstandings, unfounded allegations of unprofessional conduct, or genuine errors, dentists frequently find themselves confronted with the prospect of sanctions. Failing to mount a defense against these sanctions could result in license suspension, revocation, or other unfavorable consequences that might be preventable with adept legal representation.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team stands ready to champion your licensure defense, engaging in negotiations with licensing authorities to secure the most advantageous resolution possible. Reach out to us today at 888-535-3686 or provide your information online, and we will be in touch promptly.
Legal Authority of the Georgia Board of Dentistry
In Georgia, the discipline of dentists falls under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Board of Dentistry. The Georgia Board of Dentistry is a regulatory body responsible for licensing, monitoring, and disciplining dentists and dental hygienists in the state. It ensures that dental professionals adhere to ethical and professional standards, and it has the authority to investigate complaints, conduct hearings, and impose disciplinary actions when necessary to protect the public and maintain the integrity of the dental profession in Georgia.
The Georgia Dental Practice Act is what gives the Board of Dentistry its authority. Following reports of misconduct, the board may:
- Revoke or suspend a dentist's license
- Penalize dental professionals
- Require more training
- Ask for community service relating to dentistry
- Refer cases for criminal prosecution
While sanctions from the board vary in severity, it's important to take all actions seriously. Any kind of discipline may become part of your permanent professional record. This can have far-reaching consequences, including:
- Putting you at risk of losing your job if you make more mistakes or have misunderstandings with your current employer
- Reducing the options for where you can work in the future
- Decreasing how much money you can make
- Holding you back from reaching higher goals in your dental career
- Adding to stress and mental health concerns, you might feel less confident and secure if your license gets punished
No matter what kind of sanctions you're dealing with, it's a good idea to think about getting a lawyer from our team. It's hard to predict exactly how sanctions, even just a warning or reprimand, will impact your career. But one thing is for sure: if you don't stand up against the discipline, your career isn't likely to improve.
Will the Truth Set You Free?
While it's tempting to believe that transparency will be the thing to clear your name, the reality is often far more complicated. Even if you know you've done nothing wrong, facts aren't always enough to prove your case. That's where our team can help – we've seen dental boards make incorrect and unfair rulings and know how to avoid such results. Mistakes are made all the time because:
- They don't carefully investigate and miss important facts, statements, and proof that could make a case turn out differently.
- They have a preference for the person making the complaint or are unfair towards the person being accused.
- They decide to ignore specific evidence or statements, even evidence that could prove innocence.
- They don't come to a reasonable decision based on all the information they have.
Make no mistake: the Georgia Board of Dentistry frequently hands down career-ending disciplinary actions. Many of these dental professionals might have been innocent of the accusations or should have received less severe penalties than what was imposed.
Don't make assumptions regarding your disciplinary case. Allow a lawyer from our team to present all evidence and facts, exploring every possible way to achieve a favorable result.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Georgia Dentists
Some reasons the Georgia State Board of Dentistry disciplines dental professionals include:
Unprofessional Conduct: Engaging in behavior that goes against the ethical and professional standards expected of dental professionals, such as fraud, dishonesty, or inappropriate behavior towards patients or colleagues.
- Substandard Care: Providing inadequate or below-standard dental care that harms patients' health or violates accepted practices.
- Negligence: Failing to provide proper care or making mistakes that result in patient harm due to negligence.
- Criminal Convictions: Being convicted of a crime that affects the ability to provide safe and effective dental care or undermines the public's trust in the profession.
- Unlicensed Practice: Practicing dentistry without a valid license or permit.
- Fraud or Deception: Engaging in fraudulent activities, such as billing for services not rendered or falsifying patient records.
- Substance Abuse: Struggling with substance abuse that impairs the ability to practice safely and effectively.
- Violations of Regulations: Failing to adhere to state regulations, laws, and rules related to dental practice.
- Patient Complaints: Repeatedly receiving complaints from patients about issues like communication, treatment quality, or professionalism.
- Failure to Maintain Records: Not maintaining accurate and complete patient records as required by regulations.
- Incompetence: Demonstrating inadequate skills or knowledge that leads to poor patient outcomes.
- Ethical Violations: Breaching ethical guidelines established for dental professionals, such as patient confidentiality breaches or conflicts of interest.
This is far from an exhaustive list. Even a minor mistake or any perception of not upholding the responsibilities of a dentist could put your license, reputation, and career at risk.
The Adjudication Process for Georgia Dentists
Sanctions against dentists in Georgia typically start with a complaint. The complaint may arise from:
- Your application process for a dentist license, including how you showcased your qualifications
- Your interactions with patients and your behavior during patient care
- Your interactions with coworkers and supervisors
- Your behavior outside of the workplace
- Your professional history, including experiences in different states
- Other situations linked to your dental career, whether directly or indirectly
Anyone who wishes to file a complaint against a dentist in Georgia may do so on the board's official website. This ease of access makes it far too simple for anyone to file a frivolous complaint about you. Once the Georgia Board of Dentistry receives a complaint against you, the next steps may include the following:
The Complaint Receipt
The process begins when the Georgia State Board of Dentistry receives a complaint against a dentist. Complaints can come from various sources, including patients, colleagues, or other individuals.
Once a complaint is received, the board initiates an investigation to gather relevant information, evidence, and records. This may involve reviewing patient records, interviewing witnesses, and collecting any supporting documentation.
Review and Analysis
After completing the investigation, the board reviews the gathered information and evaluates whether there is sufficient evidence to support the complaint. This step helps determine whether formal disciplinary action is warranted.
In some cases, the board may attempt to resolve the issue informally. This could involve issuing a warning, providing guidance, or suggesting corrective measures to the dentist without formal disciplinary proceedings.
If the complaint is deemed serious and not resolved informally, a formal hearing is conducted. The dentist is notified of the allegations and has the opportunity to present their defense. The hearing typically involves presenting evidence, calling witnesses, and cross-examining parties.
Following the formal hearing, the board deliberates and makes a decision based on the presented evidence and arguments. The decision may involve disciplinary actions such as license suspension, revocation, fines, probation, or other sanctions.
If the dentist disagrees with the board's decision, they may have the right to appeal the decision through legal channels, seeking a review from higher courts or administrative bodies.
Implementation of Sanctions
If disciplinary actions are imposed, the board ensures that the appropriate sanctions are enforced. This could include suspension or revocation of the dentist's license, fines, required additional training, or other remedies.
It's important to note that each case is unique, and the adjudication process may vary based on the circumstances and severity of the complaint. Dentists facing disciplinary matters in Georgia should seek legal counsel to navigate the process effectively and protect their rights.
Why You Should Consider an Attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team When Facing Dental License Sanctions in Georgia
For those confronted with the possibility of professional sanctions, a common question arises: Is hiring an attorney truly necessary? We recommend considering the significant implications of dealing with professional sanctions and also factoring in the advantages of hiring the Lento Law Firm Team for the following reasons:
- The lenient criteria for disciplining dentists: You might be required to prove allegations false. Essentially, the Georgia State Board of Dentistry could assume your guilt unless you demonstrate innocence. Thus, a robust strategy for defending your license is necessary, and our team is here to develop and implement it on your behalf.
- The resources the Georgia Board of Dentistry has on its side: When you're faced with a complaint filed through the Georgia Board of Dentistry, you're essentially taking on the state of Georgia. You need a law firm that has the experience necessary to win such a legal battle.
- Your lack of familiarity with license defense procedures: The majority of the dentists we assist are new to the disciplinary process. However, our team is well-versed in it, and we will guide you through the upcoming steps.
- Our history of effectively defending dentists: Our ability to safeguard dentists from license sanctions should provide you with reassurance. Our record speaks for itself – our team is committed to resolving your case favorably.
As you grapple with the possibility of license sanctions, life continues. Our team will handle all elements of your defense, allowing you to focus on your personal and professional obligations without distraction.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
The goal of the Lento Law Firm Team is to clear your name and prevent sanctions. Should sanctions become unavoidable, our aim will be to minimize them as much as possible. In our pursuit of these objectives, our firm will:
- Determine the optimal outcome for your case: In certain instances, dentists may find themselves wrongly accused of actions they did not commit. In other cases, a dentist might have made an error in judgment, acted emotionally under stress, or acknowledged a mistake. These particulars shape our approach and desired outcome in handling your case.
- Gather all pertinent evidence and statements: We will conduct an independent inquiry into your situation, never relying solely on information provided by external sources. We validate facts ourselves because the right evidence or witness account can sway the outcome of your case. This approach is vital in dentist licensure cases.
- Explore settlements beyond the usual legal processes: We engage in negotiations with relevant Offices of General Counsel (OGCs) that possess the authority to resolve your case. Many times, direct negotiations with these legal representatives result in efficient and favorable case resolutions. Our familiarity with OGCs is a cornerstone of the trust clients place in our license defense services.
- Guide you through adjudication proceedings: Should your case follow the standard adjudication route, we are well-prepared. We will be there for meetings, represent you during hearings, and promptly file any necessary appeals.
- Pursue additional legal avenues, if required: Every option is considered when safeguarding your dental license. Should the need arise to pursue legal action beyond the appeals process, we are ready. As your case evolves, our team will discuss relevant options with you.
We are a national legal team operating with substantial experience in negotiating with professional licensing boards and their legal representatives. Tailoring our approach to the distinct circumstances of each client, our firm consistently strives for the most favorable resolution.
We Serve Dentists Employed by Providers Throughout Georgia
Irrespective of your employer or the particular position you hold, license sanctions can lead to severe consequences. That's why we extend our services to dentists working across all areas of Georgia. Our team possesses knowledge of notable employers within the dental sector, such as:
- Heartland Dental
- Kool Smiles
- Great Expressions Dental Centers
- Georgia School of Orthodontics
- Peach State Health Plan
- Private dental practices
- Northside Hospital Dental Center
Whether you're located in Atlanta, Macon, Athens, Columbus, Augusta, Savannah, or one of the region's smaller towns, the Lento Law Firm can help.
Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today to Learn How to Protect Your Dental License in Georgia
You know how important it is to protect your professional license – that's why we're ready to get started on your case right away. We'll make the most of the time you offer us before any interviews, hearings, appeals, or legal proceedings occur.
Reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today to learn more about our strategy to uphold your dental license in Georgia. Alternatively, you can provide your case information online, and a team member will be in touch promptly.