According to the state's Division of Public Health, Wisconsin has suffered from a below-average supply of dentists. The state needs more dentists, not fewer. For dentists licensed in Wisconsin, this could mean full schedules and a great career — as long as they are not disciplined by the state's licensing board.
Any allegations that put a dentist's license and reputation on the line must be dealt with swiftly. The earlier that legal representation can get involved in these cases, the better the outcome will be for the accused dentist. If you find yourself facing sanctions from Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board, do not delay to reach out to an experienced team, like the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. Citizens of the state cannot afford to lose any more great dentists, and dental practices cannot afford to lose the lucrative opportunities Wisconsin provides.
Whether you feel the accusations have merit or not, our attorneys can help. We will turn over every stone and consider every legal avenue to make certain that the path you take is the one that leads to the best resolution. The Lento Law Firm is well-versed in dental regulations in Wisconsin and has had success negotiating directly with licensing agencies.
Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board: Who Are They?
The Dentistry Examining Board is a division of the state of Wisconsin's Department of Safety and Professional Services. It is made up of six licensed dentists, three licensed dental hygienists, and two citizen members. In addition to approving licenses for those in the dentistry profession, the agency is also responsible for disciplining dentists who violate the Wisconsin state statutes.
Under Chapter 447, put forward by the Wisconsin Legislature, the Dentistry Examining Board has broad authority to provide oversight and discipline in instances where a complaint is made against a licensed dentist. The disciplinary process could conclude with the following types of sanctions:
- Reprimand. This is a permanent mark on your professional record. It is public and can be viewed by potential patients.
- Monetary Penalties. Fines may be imposed by the Dentistry Examining Board. They may also require restitution paid to the person who filed the complaint if they were directly affected by the dentist's behavior.
- Probation. The board may allow you to keep your license on the condition that you meet specific benchmarks and requirements, like the completion of a training course.
- Suspended or Revoked License. Depending on the severity of the accusation (with the complaint likely alleging a public health and safety issue), a dentist's license may be suspended for an indefinite amount of time until the board feels the dentist will perform their duties in a way that is free of potential harm to patients or coworkers. Revocation of a license may be on the table if the violation is particularly serious.
If you are accused of professional wrongdoing, the only way to avoid a potential hit to your reputation is to fight against even the smallest of sanctions. A reprimand may not seem too bad when looking at the big picture, but any sort of public infraction can result in adverse career prospects. These can manifest in many ways, including:
- Losing longtime patients and/or difficulty gaining new patients
- Judgement and hostility from coworkers or industry peers
- Job loss
- Inability to move cities or change practices
- Difficulty becoming licensed outside of Wisconsin
- Undue stress and anxiety when put into certain situations that could result in another violation
Being accused of misconduct is not entirely in your control. However, you always have the ability to retain an experienced law firm at the first sign of trouble. If a complaint has been made against you, contacting the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm gives you the best chance to protect yourself and your license.
What If the Complaint Is False?
False allegations are everywhere these days, especially for people like dentists who sit in a position of power. Employing people and seeing lots of patients will only increase the risk that someone feels wronged by you. Sometimes, it can feel as though every interaction is replayed over and over with a fine-tooth comb. In the past, many of these of these conversations and gestures wouldn't have been given a second thought. The point being even if you behave professionally at all times, you may still find yourself on the wrong side of Wisconsin's disciplinary process.
If you are falsely accused, your first thought may be that it will all inevitably blow over. The truth will come out and you will be absolved. The problem with that thinking is that it ignores the reality of these disciplinary proceedings: this is not a criminal court. The standard of guilt is much lower, and Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board has significant latitude when determining sanctions. What happens if the main evidence of the case is your word against someone else? In a criminal court, the case would likely be dismissed. Your case with the licensing board is a different beast altogether.
Even if you have done nothing wrong, the worst thing you can do in any disciplinary proceeding in which your professional livelihood is at stake is to represent yourself. You may think having attorneys will make you appear guilty. That could not be further from the truth.
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is there not only to plan and enact your defense but to provide safeguards against any sort of funny business that can occur when facing a board made up of your industry peers.
Actions That Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board May Find Worthy of Sanctions
As written in Wisconsin Code 447.07, the following reasons can be used to initiate a formal investigation into a licensed dentist:
- Failure to renew license within sixty days of expiration
- Unprofessional conduct (including verbal, physical, mental, or sexual abuse in the workplace)
- Applied for license using false information
- Mental incompetence
- Conviction of a crime relating to the practice of dentistry
- Drug or alcohol abuse that impaired ability to safely practice dentistry
- Employed or assisted an unlicensed person with performing duties requiring a dental license
- Fraud or irregularities in billing
- False advertising
- Controlled substance violations (such as prescribing painkillers to a non-patient or family member)
Dentists who have had a complaint filed alleging you committed one or more of the above actions, time is of the utmost importance. The earlier you and your legal representation get ahead of these accusations, the stronger your case will be. Consult with the Lento Law Firm today by submitting online or by calling 888-535-3686.
What Does Wisconsin's Disciplinary Process Look Like?
Similar to other states, the disciplinary process for dentists in Wisconsin begins with the receipt of a formal complaint. The Dentistry Examining Board will review the complaint and make sure the alleged offense falls under their jurisdiction (for example, if the complaint asserted that the dentist stole a loaf of bread from the grocery store, the complaint would be dismissed due to scope).
If it is determined that the complaint does fall within the scope of the board's authority, the rest of the disciplinary process typically proceeds in this order:
- The Investigation. The Dentistry Examining Board will gather any relevant evidence at their disposal (including documents, video, and witness testimony). If they can not find enough evidence to feel confident that the complaint has merit, the board has the option to dismiss the charges.
- Consent Order. This is the licensing board version of a plea deal. The licensee would admit guilt to avoid having to attend a hearing. The upside of agreeing to a consent order is that the punishment may be lessened. The downside is that it will still show up on your public record. In addition, a consent order often comes with a probationary period in which the licensed dentist must meet required checkpoints.
- The Hearing. A formal proceeding that resembles a trial. Evidence is by the board and by the licensee's lawyers. At the end of the hearing, a decision will be rendered by the board about the severity of the sanction that will be issued against the dentist (or if the claim is dismissed).
- Appeals. As with all legal proceedings, the licensee and their legal team has a right to appeal the board's decision if they feel it was unjust. In licensing cases, appeals rarely overturn the original judgment.
If the Professional License Defense Team is overseeing your case, we will be in contact with Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board throughout the entire process. The best option for a licensee is a dismissal during the investigatory stage, but if that is not possible, our team will plan to mitigate the professional damage in other ways.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
The Lento Law Firm defends professional dental licenses nationwide. We are familiar with the way Wisconsin handles these violations and have the experience needed to achieve successful outcomes for our clients.
When taking on a case like this, the primary goal of our Professional License Defense Team is to get the case dismissed. This keeps the dentist's reputation intact and is the least disruptive to their career. Sometimes dismissal is not possible. In those cases, our goal shifts to disproving the complaint at the hearing and minimizing the severity of the sanctions.
To give us the best chance at achieving these goals, we need your case details, from the event that sparked the initial complaint to any steps you may have taken after you became aware of the allegations. We are on your side, and knowing all the information at hand will make sure we plan the correct strategy.
While the board is conducting their investigation, we will conduct our own. The more evidence we can find in favor of our client, or a lack of evidence against them, the more likely it is that we can convince the board to dismiss the case. The Lento Law Firm knows how to approach negotiations with licensing boards. If we can settle your case in a suitable way before it reaches the hearing, that is typically the best option.
If an early settlement is not in the client's best interest, we are perfectly happy to seek a better outcome at the hearing. We will be with you throughout the entire process. Even if the board does, in fact, issue sanctions, we will be right there to file an appeal.
Every dentist in Wisconsin needs quality representation to fight professional infractions. Do not hesitate to contact the Lento Law Firm. The sooner we get to work, the better.
We Are Here for Wisconsin Dentists Facing License Sanctions
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm provides legal services to all of Wisconsin's metropolitan areas.
- Dodge County
- Eau Claire
- Fond du Lac County
- Green Bay
- Jefferson County
- Kenosha County
- Sheboygan County
- St. Croix County
- Stevens Point
- Wood County
Don't see your area listed? No problem. The Lento Law Firm is also able to assist dentists from the more rural areas of Wisconsin.
Contact the Professional Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm Today
With the amount of long hours, dedication, and financial investment you have put into your dentistry career, do not leave your future to chance. If a formal complaint has been or possibly will be filed against you, reach out to our team now. It's not too late. Even if you are already in the midst of the adjudication process, the Lento Law Firm can help.
For a consultation, call our Professional License Defense Team at 888-535-3686 or by sharing the details of your case via our online form. The Lento Law Firm is standing by and ready to assist you during this tough time. We will do everything in our power to ensure your case ends with a positive outcome.