The Lento Law Firm Defends South Carolina Dentists
South Carolina has such history and culture and such a scenic natural environment, including its beautiful Atlantic Coast, that it can make a fantastic place to practice dentistry. Its natural and social charms can help to balance the rigors of a professional career in dentistry. Its substantial population centers in and around its vibrant Charleston, North Charleston, Columbia, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill, Greenville, and other locales can readily support a dynamic and rewarding dental practice. You could hardly have done any better than to choose your South Carolina dentistry practice home.
But you must still meet the profession's demands, including conforming your practice to all of South Carolina's regulatory standards for dentistry. South Carolina's charms do not insulate or immunize you from professional disciplinary proceedings. South Carolina's Board of Dentistry has the full backing of the state legislature to carry out its regulatory mandate through disciplinary charges and actions against the licenses of dentists whose practice threatens patients, the public, or the profession.
If the South Carolina Board of Dentistry has already charged you with misconduct or notified you of a misconduct investigation, then your license and practice are at risk. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team to defend the South Carolina Board of Dentistry's disciplinary charges. We are available whether you are in Charleston, North Charleston, Columbia, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill, Greenville, or any other South Carolina location. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for South Carolina dentist disciplinary defense.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Licensure
You must retain your South Carolina Board of Dentistry license if you intend to continue practicing dentistry in South Carolina. South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-10 creates and authorizes the Board of Dentistry to license and regulate dentists in their practice within the state. Section 40-15-100 makes it illegal to practice dentistry in the state without a license: "It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the practice of dentistry in this State without a license from the board, except as otherwise provided in this chapter." Section 40-15-120 makes the unauthorized practice of dentistry without a license a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to $1,000 and six months in jail for each day in which an offense occurs. Section 40-15-140 authorized the Board of Dentistry to establish the rules and standards for licensure and license renewal. Your license is necessary. Let us help you defend it against South Carolina Board of Dentistry disciplinary charges.
Nationwide Stakes to South Carolina Discipline
South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-270 authorizes the Board of Dentistry to recognize a dental license issued by another state if that state reciprocates. Reciprocity agreements are in place in a majority of U.S. states. The Board of Dentistry website indicates, "Currently, SC does not hold reciprocity agreements with any other licensing jurisdiction." Thus, your South Carolina license proceeding directly involves only your South Carolina license. Yet if you suffer license discipline in South Carolina, don't expect to simply license in another state or renew a prior license elsewhere. License applications and renewals require you to disclose prior discipline. If you suffer license discipline in South Carolina, you must disclose it to other states. Those states are unlikely to issue a license if South Carolina has suspended or revoked yours, at least until you meet all conditions for license reinstatement. Licensing officials also search for discipline so that applicants cannot conceal it. Doing so would, in any case, be a rules violation. Defend your disciplinary charges now in South Carolina rather than expecting to avoid their consequences by moving your practice to another state.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Authority
South Carolina's Board of Dentistry has clear authority to discipline you for failing to meet its regulatory standards. South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-180 authorizes the board to accept, investigate, and act on complaints against a dentist practicing in the state. The following section grants the board the powers of subpoena to investigate misconduct. Section 40-15-190 lists the board's many permissible grounds for discipline, while the following Section 40-15-200 expressly authorizes the board to suspend or revoke your license if it finds that you committed one or more of those many grounds for discipline. The Board of Dentistry has not only the legislature's authority to discipline but also the state's responsibility to discipline to protect patients, the public, and the profession. Take its disciplinary charges seriously. Let us help you defend those charges for the best possible outcome.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Actions
You won't generally be able to conceal any discipline that South Carolina's Board of Dentistry imposes. South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-215 declares that the Board of Dentistry's disciplinary decisions are public knowledge. The statute expressly authorizes the board to convey the disciplinary decision to the accused dentist's employer. The board may also publish decisions online and must provide a copy of the decision to any patient, employer, licensing official in another state, or other person who requests it. South Carolina's Board of Dentistry has the personnel and resources of the state's Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation behind it to investigate, determine, and impose discipline. When you face the board's disciplinary charges, you are facing government officials whose job and career is to investigate, determine, and impose discipline. When you retain our defense services, you level the playing field.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Discretion
Your disciplinary charges aren't an all-or-nothing proposition in which the Board of Dentistry must either revoke your license or dismiss the charges. The board instead has the statutory authority to impose one or more of several different sanctions right up to license suspension and revocation. South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-200 lists the following sanctions that the board may impose against you when finding misconduct:
- revoke the license;
- suspend the license;
- reprimand the licensee publicly or privately;
- place the licensee on probation;
- require the licensee to undertake additional professional training the board directs and approves;
- require the licensee to submit to psychiatric evaluations;
- restrict the licensee from controlled substances;
- restrict the licensee to institutional practice under supervision; and
- any other discipline the board deems appropriate.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Consent Resolution
The South Carolina Board of Dentistry's disciplinary authority is so broad as to be discouraging and intimidating. But our Defense Team may be able to turn the board's broad disciplinary discretion to your advantage. We have the skills, experience, and sensitivity to discern the board's own needs, duties, and interests in protecting patients, the public, and the profession. We know the interim measures that dental boards may accept, short of license suspension, revocation, or other discipline, depending on the case-by-case circumstances. We know how to reach and communicate, advocate, and negotiate with those disciplinary officials who have Board of Dentistry authority to accept or recommend dismissal of disciplinary charges in win-win consent resolutions. Let us go to work for you determining whether your additional training, education, evaluation, treatment, care, counseling, supervision, or restriction may be to your advantage and available to you as a favorable alternative to going through a formal hearing with the risk of losing your license.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Grounds
As briefly indicated above, South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-190 lists the board's many permissible grounds for discipline. The board's disciplinary charges against you must recite and fit one or more of those grounds. While the grounds are broad, the board does not have unfettered discretion to do as it pleases in regulating dentists. Consider the following summary of Section 40-15-190's grounds and misconduct examples, along with some ways in which our Defense Team may be able to defend you against those charges.
Credentials Fraud as Grounds for South Carolina Dentist Discipline
Section 40-15-190 authorizes discipline when the dentist "has made a false, fraudulent, or forged statement or document or committed a fraudulent, deceitful, or dishonest act in connection with a licensure or registration requirement." Credentials fraud may involve cheating on the licensing exam by using unauthorized materials or a substitute examinee, misrepresenting your dental education on the license application, or concealing criminal convictions or prior license discipline on the license or renewal application. Defenses may involve showing you did not misrepresent anything, that any errors or omissions were accidental rather than intentionally misleading, and that any errors or omissions were immaterial to your sound qualifications for a license.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for South Carolina Dentist Discipline
Section 40-15-190 authorizes discipline for a dentist who "has been convicted of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude or controlled substances" and that "forfeiture of bond or a plea of nolo contendere is equivalent to a conviction." Examples of disqualifying convictions include aggravated assault, sexual assault, robbery, theft, drug distribution, and criminal fraud involving insurance billing. Defenses may involve showing that no such conviction occurred, that the court overturned or expunged any conviction, or that the conviction was not of a disqualifying felony, drug crime, or crime of moral turpitude and was instead a misdemeanor unrelated to fitness for dental practice.
Impairment as Grounds for South Carolina Dentist Discipline
Section 40-15-190 authorizes discipline for a dentist who "is unable to practice dentistry … with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of physical illness or disability, mental illness, or the illness of alcoholism or substance abuse." Examples include serious injuries to the hands or arms, degenerative neurological diseases, or severe depression interfering with sleep, motor control, emotional control, cognition, and attention. Defenses may involve showing that any impairment did not affect dental practice or was temporary and has abated naturally or with treatment. Defenses may also involve showing the innocence of the temporary episode of impairment, such as a change in prescription medication and unexpected reactions to it. We may also be able to arrange a confidential referral to the South Carolina Recovering Professional Program in lieu of disciplinary proceedings. Do not accept such a referral without our review in case you must relinquish your license with difficult to impossible terms to get it back.
False Advertising as Grounds for South Carolina Dentist Discipline
Section 40-15-190 authorizes discipline for a dentist who "has published, circulated, or made public in any manner, directly or indirectly, a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading statement as to the skill or methods or practice of a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental technician." Examples may include guaranteeing a cure or promising a pain-free procedure. Defenses may involve proving you did not make the alleged misstatement or that it was substantially true.
Other Grounds for South Carolina Dentist Discipline
Section 40-15-190 authorizes discipline for many other grounds, including employing assistants to engage in unauthorized dental practice, incompetent practice, failing to meet dentistry standards of care, inaccurate recordkeeping, billing fraud, and illegal drug dispensing. Other laws and regulations prohibit failing to monitor anesthetized patients, failing to use pulse oximeters or similar devices, and other specific hazardous practices. Defense would be specific to the charge.
South Carolina Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Procedures
State government must generally provide you with constitutional due process before depriving you of a property or liberty interest, such as the interest you hold in your dental license. Due process in this disciplinary context means fair notice of the disciplinary charges and a reasonable opportunity to contest the allegations at a hearing before an impartial decision-maker. South Carolina Statute Section 40-15-200 provides for your due process by permitting you to invoke a formal review and hearing before an administrative law judge if the Board of Dentistry votes by a majority that you committed sanctionable misconduct. You also have a right to appeal an adverse decision and a limited right of court review under the following statute sections. Our Defense Team has the skill and experience to put these protective procedures to your best defense through negotiation, informal resolutions, formal hearings, presentation of your evidence, cross-examination of adverse witnesses, and appeals and court litigation over adverse decisions.
Premier South Carolina Dentist Disciplinary Defense
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available to represent you in South Carolina Board of Dentistry disciplinary proceedings, whether you are located in Charleston, North Charleston, Columbia, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill, Greenville, or any other South Carolina location. We have helped hundreds of professionals nationwide defend and defeat disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for skilled South Carolina dentist disciplinary defense.