Whether you are a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine), you have undergone rigorous education and training to become a practicing dentist. Yet, a single allegation of wrongdoing or a simple misunderstanding may temporarily or permanently rob you of your ability to practice.
Indiana law holds dentists to lofty standards—both professionally and personally. Still, both dentists are falsely accused of wrongdoing, and those who make mistakes are entitled to due process. A Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm will provide a comprehensive defense, ensuring that the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency honors your rights.
Our Professional License Defense Team has helped many dentists through stressful times, resolving their cases in a manner that allowed them to continue practicing. We will work hard to secure a positive outcome in your case, too.
What Organization Oversees Dentist's Licensing Issues in Indiana?
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA) has the ultimate authority to discipline dentists in the state. More specifically, the Indiana Dentistry Board generally handles disciplinary matters involving dentists and other professionals in the dental field.
IC 25-14-1-13 gives the 11 members of the Indiana Dentistry Board the power to:
- Oversee complaints against dentists in Indiana
- Conduct hearings to review complaints
- Take appropriate disciplinary action against dentists it deems responsible for misconduct
This statute tasks the board with “administering and enforcing the laws pertaining to the practice of dentistry and of dental hygiene.” This is a broad mandate that bestows broad power upon the board.
Actions the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Can Take Against Dentists
IC 25-14-1-30.4 explains that dentists are “responsible for knowing the standards of conduct and practice” as established by Indiana law. In other words, ignorance is generally not shielded against discipline by the Dentistry Board, and any dentist may be subject to:
- Formal reprimand, including censure of your license
- License suspension (which can include emergency suspension and summary suspension)
- Temporary license revocation (and conditional reinstatement)
- Permanent license revocation
- Other forms of discipline
When the Indiana Dentistry Board issues sanctions that affect a dentist's license, it is not merely sanctioning the license. Such disciplinary action may also:
- Result in termination from your current position
- Result in the loss of your practice or significant loss of clients
- Make it difficult to regain the position, income, prominence, or reputation you had earned before license sanctions
- Cause substantial financial stress for you and your dependents
- Cause severe mental health problems
- Affect quality of living, interpersonal relationships, public perception of you, and many other aspects of your life
Many dentists derive a sense of identity from their work—rightfully so, as they work hard and invest much to earn their positions. When a licensing board imposes adverse sanctions, the consequences of those sanctions can range far beyond your career.
Dental Networks Are Increasingly Interconnected, Meaning Sanctions Can Significantly Diminish Your Employment Opportunities
Once upon a time, a dentist may suffer sanctions in one state but could move to another location with a relatively clean professional slate. With the interconnectivity of the internet has come easily accessible databases documenting dentists' every move.
A dentist who has their license suspended by the Indiana Dentistry Board may find that employers in Illinois, California, Florida, or Colorado hold the sanctions against them, refusing employment. While it has always been possible for a dentist's record to follow them throughout their career, the current state of communication makes professional sanctions as impactful as ever.
Why the Professional Dentistry Board Does Not Always Handle Discipline Appropriately
Despite the immense impact that license sanctions can have on your dental career and personal life, disciplinary bodies do not always make the proper decision. Specifically, boards sometimes impose inappropriate and overzealous sanctions upon dentists in Indiana because:
- Those seeking to discipline you misrepresent the facts of your circumstances
- Important evidence is not available at the time that the disciplinary body renders its decision
- The disciplinary body has some sort of bias against you
- The disciplinary body errs in its judgment of the facts or appropriate sanctions
It is critical that you minimize the risk of an adverse decision as much as possible. The stronger your defense, the less likely inappropriate or heavy-handed sanctions generally become.
Recent Disciplinary Action Taken Against Dentists in Indiana
Some dentists make the mistake of thinking that:
- The disciplinary board is merely going through the motions, and it will ultimately choose not to issue sanctions
- The disciplinary board will evaluate the facts fairly, and the truth will ultimately dictate its ruling
- You do not need to mount a substantial defense because you know you are not responsible for the allegations against you
There is no room for gray area, interpretation, or subjectivity when defending your dental license. Each year, countless dentists in Indiana lose their ability to practice because of decisions made by the Indiana Dentistry Board and its parent organization, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
There is a precedent for suspending and permanently revoking dentists' licenses in Indiana. Do not underestimate the board's ability or willingness to levy significant sanctions against you, even if you have done nothing wrong.
Reasons Why Dentists Face Discipline in Indiana
IC 25-1-1.1-2 details several offenses that may lead to disciplinary action against a dentist, including:
- Possession or misuse of illicit or legal substances: A dentist may face sanctions if they are found to possess or use illicit substances, including narcotics. You could also face discipline if accused of misusing a legal substance (including alcohol) in a criminal, dangerous, or unprofessional manner.
- Misrepresentation of credentials: If you are accused of misrepresenting yourself or your accomplishments, you could face an allegation of professional fraud. Such allegations could pertain to the way you obtained your license or how you represented yourself or your dental practice.
- Sexually inappropriate or illegal behavior: Dentists accused of sexually inappropriate conduct can expect a disciplinary inquiry. This is a particularly egregious allegation for which the dental board likely has little tolerance. A robust defense is imperative.
- Any other act that calls into question one's fitness as a dentist: If you are accused of any other act (or failure to act) that the board may consider a danger to yourself, coworkers, or patients, it may initiate disciplinary proceedings.
- Any other form of unprofessional behavior: Some other examples of unprofessional behavior include disrespectful behavior towards coworkers or patients, failure to maintain sanitary premises, and performing procedures that you lack authorization for.
There is a near-limitless number of allegations that could warrant a complaint against a dentist. Remember, though, that an allegation is not an indication of guilt or responsibility.
An attorney from our firm will review the allegations against you, identify the specific complaint(s) that triggered disciplinary processes, and get your side of the story. From there, we will plan and execute a defense strategy, always keeping your wishes and target outcomes in mind.
What To Expect From the Adjudication Process
The IPLA details the disciplinary process that dentists often face, and it is a process you should be prepared for. While your Professional Licenses Defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm will prep you in a more detailed, personalized manner, know that the process ahead likely includes:
An Investigation of the Allegations Against You
The board will likely appoint an investigator who will:
- Speak with you about any allegations that have prompted the investigation (you should have your attorney from our firm attend any interviews if permitted)
- Secure any evidence related to the investigation, which may include evidence from your dental practice
- Speak with the individual(s) who filed the complaint against you
- Take any other steps necessary to gather facts and evaluate the complaint(s) against you
- Make a comprehensive report detailing their findings
The board may use the investigator's report to determine whether to move forth with sanctions.
An Opportunity to Accept Responsibility and Sanctions
If the investigator recommends a finding that you are responsible for alleged wrongdoing, they or the board may offer the chance to resolve your case. However, a resolution will likely require you to accept responsibility for allegations of wrongdoing, as well as some type of sanction.
Each case is different. For some dentists, it makes sense to settle. An attorney from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can negotiate a resolution on your behalf if this is appropriate in your circumstance.
A Hearing (If You Choose Not to Accept Responsibility or Sanctions)
If the board moves forth with the disciplinary process, but you do not accept sanctions, you will likely head to a hearing. Your attorney may accompany you to this hearing and:
- Present any evidence that suggests you are not responsible for the allegations against you
- Present and question any witnesses whose testimony benefits your defense
- Cross-examine any witnesses who testify against you, possibly including the complainant
- File any necessary motions and objections
- Make oral arguments on your behalf
Your attorney from our team will guide you through the hearing, ensuring that your rights are protected. You are guaranteed due process by Indiana law, and we will ensure that the Dentistry Board honors that due process.
An Appeal Opportunity
If the Dentistry Board levies sanctions against you, we will exhaust all appeal options. Your license is too important to accept sanctions without a fight. Our team will be prepared to launch an appeal shortly after any adverse decision.
Why Hire a Professional License Defense Attorney From the Lento Law Firm?
Dentists should fully consider the cost of losing their license, even temporarily. If you are facing potential sanctions, the time to fight is right now. You may hire the Lento Law Firm to lead your license defense because:
Professional License Defense Is a Primary Focus of Our Firm
You should never hire a local law firm when your license is at stake. Instead, hire our Professional License Defense Team that:
- Has helped many dentists (including in Indiana) defend their licenses
- Understands the processes and complexities of dental license defense
- Will manage every detail of your defense in an experience-based, professional manner
Our attorneys will make your case their priority.
We Work with Offices of General Counsel to Resolve License Disputes
Our firm embraces a cooperative tack when defending our clients' licenses. Before we exhaust legal measures, we will proactively engage in negotiations with the Indiana Dentistry Board, their attorneys, or any other parties who can resolve your case favorably.
We Serve Dentists Throughout Indiana
Dentists provide essential services throughout the state of Indiana. Just as dental professionals occupy every corner of the Hoosier State, our attorneys offer our services to dentists regardless of where they call home.
The Lento Law Firm serves the larger metropolitan cities—Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Fishers, South Bend, Carmel, Bloomington, Hammond, Noblesville, and Lafayette—to mid and small-sized communities throughout Indiana.
Regardless of where you work or the disciplinary process is unfolding, our Professional License Defense Team will travel to you.
Understand the Legal Backing That the Dentistry Board Has
IC 25-14-1-21 states that the Indiana Attorney General must represent the Dentistry Board in any legal proceedings involving a challenged ruling. As if the Dentistry Board was not intimidating enough, you may find yourself in a legal match against the state's Attorney General, in which case you will likely want an experienced Professional License Defense attorney (from our firm) representing you.
Call the Lento Law Firm Today for Dentist License Defense Services in Indiana
Our attorneys will begin preparing your defense today. The fact- and evidence-gathering processes are often time-sensitive, so do not wait long to speak with our team.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online about defending your license. Look no further for a law firm that is willing, capable, and eager to defend your name, reputation, and license in Indiana.