Largely rural and sparsely populated, North Dakota faces challenges recruiting and retaining enough dental workforce to adequately serve its residents. Despite oral health care professional shortages and resulting health disparities, dentists in North Dakota may face sanctions and risks to their dental license that may put their careers and their patients at risk. The Lento Law Firm Team knows how hard you worked to become a dentist and understands the vital role you play in helping underserved and vulnerable residents of your state maintain optimal health. If you are in trouble, our team is ready to defend you and make sure your side of the story is heard.
It's important to remember that an investigation by the state dental board doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything wrong. Dentists may receive sanctions due to misunderstandings between coworkers or patients, false allegations of misconduct, or simple mistakes. Despite the fact that you meant no harm, licensing boards may not be willing to consider all of the facts, and the consequences of their ruling may put your career at risk. If you are facing sanctions, it is vital to contact an experienced legal team to help you avoid the most serious outcomes, such as your dental license being revoked. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team will help you with your defense and make sure you achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. Call 888-535-3686 or submit your details online.
Disciplinary Powers of the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners
The North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners is charged with protecting the dental health of the public through the regulation and enforcement of laws. The board's responsibilities include licensing dentists and other oral health care professionals, investigating complaints, and disciplining dentists in the event of a rule violation. Possible disciplinary actions may include:
- Giving the dentist a warning that their behavior could result in sanctions
- Reprimanding or fining a dentist
- Requiring certain continuing education courses
- Suspending a dentist's license or making it inactive
- Revoking a dentist's license
Even if the sanctions you've received do not sound severe – for instance, you may think a warning is no big deal – they still need to be taken seriously. Being disciplined in any form by the dental board in North Dakota can go on your permanent record and carry serious repercussions for your future, including making your current or future employer less tolerant of any additional mistakes or misunderstandings, making other employers less likely to hire you, and causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed at work and at home. No matter the consequences you face, the Lento Law Firm Team can help you fight for your rights and navigate what comes next.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Dentists Practicing in North Dakota
Reasons the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners may take disciplinary action against dentists in the state include:
- Incompetent care: If a dentist breaches their duty of care and is found to have provided incorrect, negligent, or substandard treatment that harmed the patient, they will likely receive a complaint.
- Unprofessional behavior: This may include having a bad attitude when interacting with patients, keeping a dirty or disorganized office, or failing to show up on time for appointments.
- Substance abuse or addiction: If a dentist is experiencing alcohol or drug addiction, they may face sanctions, particularly if they are found to be practicing while under the influence.
- Fraud: If you have obtained your dental license dishonestly or committed other practices that may have deceived or misled patients, such as overbilling, your license may be at risk.
- Criminal charges or DUI: Being convicted of certain criminal offenses or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is usually unacceptable in the dental profession. In these instances, you must report any convictions to the dental board.
- Inappropriate handling of drugs: Incorrectly prescribing medications to patients or keeping inaccurate inventories of drugs can potentially lead to the loss of your license.
Because of the tremendous amount of responsibility required to safeguard your patients' health, dentists and other oral healthcare workers are held to a higher standard than most professionals. For these reasons, even the smallest perceived error in judgement can put your career at risk.
Adjudication Process for Dentist License Issues in North Dakota
One of the duties of the dental board in North Dakota is investigating complaints, which must be submitted to the board in writing using a form that can be downloaded on their website. When the board receives a complaint, they typically contact the person submitting the complaint for additional information before notifying the party against whom the complaint is written. Complaints may happen because of the following reasons:
- Unprofessional conduct or appearance with patients
- Unprofessional conduct or appearance among coworkers
- Engaging in unethical conduct outside of work
- Failing to properly diagnose or treat a dental condition
- Delaying the diagnosis or treatment of a dental condition
In some cases, individuals may make unfounded or overwrought complaints against dentists, which often stem from an emotional response rather than the facts of the situation. However, the dental board is still required to investigate, and without proper representation, your career could still be harmed. When the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners receives a complaint, the adjudication process will likely proceed as follows:
- A complaint committee directed by the board will investigate the complaint and recommend whether disciplinary action should be taken against the dentist.
- The complaint committee will notify the dentist of the complaint, and the dentist must submit a response in writing.
- The complaint committee may examine and copy records, interview witnesses, obtain expert opinions, require the dentist to submit to mental or physical examinations, and take other actions to investigate the complaint as necessary.
- The dentist must cooperate with the investigation and respond promptly to all requests.
- If the board determines there is a reasonable basis for the complaint, they will proceed with disciplinary action.
- Additionally, the board may impose fees on the dentist resulting from the cost of the discipline, including administrative costs, attorney's fees, witness fees, court costs, and more.
If the board reviews the evidence and determines that the dentist creates serious and ongoing harm to the public, the dentist's license may be immediately suspended while disciplinary proceedings are still ongoing. In these cases, the board will promptly notify the dentist and include the complaint, the date of the full hearing, and a full list of evidence, witnesses, and documents that contributed to their decision. The board will conduct a full hearing to determine what disciplinary action must be taken against the dentist, with the hearing not occurring any later than 30 days from the temporary suspension order.
Appealing an Unfavorable Ruling
If you receive sanctions from the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners, you likely have the right to submit an appeal – but appeals must meet certain criteria in order to be considered. If you have received a verdict that you do not believe has taken all of the facts into account, your next best step is likely to appeal the decision. A North Dakota appeals court can review the case for errors, and they may choose to uphold the original decision, examine additional evidence, and, in rare cases, reverse or alter the board's original verdict.
It's important to remember that getting the court to reverse a decision is challenging and requires irrefutable evidence of bias or blatant wrongdoing on the part of the board. Possible reasons a decision may be overturned include a violation of guidelines, obvious bias in the initial investigation, evidence that was overlooked or not considered, and a decision that did not match the facts of the case. When appealing your case in court, you will want an experienced legal team on your side to help you gather your evidence and present your argument. This will give you the best shot at achieving a more favorable ruling and rescuing your career as a dentist.
Help with Dental License Reinstatement
If your dental license has been suspended or revoked, the Lento Law Firm Team can help you follow the guidelines set forth by the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners to get your license reinstated. This includes submitting a reinstatement application and fee, along with proof of completed continuing education requirements and certification in CPR. At this point, you will also be required to submit to a background check and take an ethics exam before awaiting the decision of the board. Depending on the sanctions you received, you may also have to submit additional documentation showing you have received the prescribed counseling or treatment, as well as make your case for why your license should be reinstated.
Because getting your dental license reinstated can be an overwhelming process that involves an ongoing timeline of complex requirements, having the Lento Law Firm Team with you on your journey can help you cover all your bases. Failing to submit just one document or filling out a single form incorrectly can mean the difference between your license being reinstated or not. An experienced and compassionate counselor can help make the case for your reinstatement, prepare and submit all paperwork and fees, and negotiate with the board for a path toward restoring your dental career.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team When Facing Dentist License Sanctions in North Dakota
If you're facing sanctions from the dental licensing board in North Dakota, you may think you can go it alone – after all, you're an intelligent, successful professional who has simply made a mistake. But we are here to tell you that it's not worth the risk. When it comes to issuing sanctions, the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners will always put patients first, which means your career and your future are not on their list of priorities – even if the truth is that you've done nothing wrong.
In order to effectively fight back against the allegations against you, you will need a coordinated and powerful defense strategy, which requires knowledge and experience to execute. Remember, too, that the North Dakota Board of Dental Examiners has vast reserves of legal professionals on their side, helping them build a case against you. When you face disciplinary proceedings by yourself, you have a steep hill to climb.
That's why you deserve to have the Lento Law Firm Team in your corner. Most dentists have not been through a disciplinary investigation before – but the Lento Law Firm Team has helped many healthcare professionals across the country navigate situations similar to yours, and we know what to expect and how to guide you through the challenging days and weeks ahead. Our team has successfully protected dentists from sanctions, including the loss of their license, and we are ready to help you achieve the best results in your case. Having our team manage your defense also frees you up to continue managing other aspects of your life.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Will Help You Fight for Your Dental License in North Dakota
At the Lento Law Firm, our team's mission is avoiding or reducing sanctions to have the least possible impact on you and your career. We will work with you to decide on your goals and ideal outcomes, develop a defense strategy, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and verify all facts. We will explore all options to negotiate and achieve an efficient and acceptable outcome in your case. Our team will be there to accompany you through every step of this process, file all necessary paperwork for hearings and appeals, and explore further legal options as needed. Our nationwide legal team knows the ins and outs of working with professional licensing boards, and we are here to fight for you and your dental career.
No matter the type of trouble you're in or the sanctions you might face, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is here to help. We will make your case our top priority and ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for your future and your career. Don't let all of your hard work and dreams of being a dentist go to waste. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 so we can start preparing your defense. You can also contact us online, and a member of our team will reach out as soon as possible.