Tennessee Dentist License Defense

As a licensed dentist, you no doubt worked hard to get where you are. The years of schooling, exams, continuing education, and building your reputation as a respected healthcare provider in your community take a great deal of time and effort. When you've invested so much in your profession and have striven to provide and promote dental health for your patients, you don't want to end up losing it all over a licensure issue.

In Tennessee, the Board of Dentistry has the power to take your license away if it feels you've violated rules that dental health professionals must follow. It seems straightforward—you just do your job, fill out the forms for your license every few years, and keep up with continuing education, and you shouldn't have a problem, right? Unfortunately, many dentists in Tennessee and around the country run into problems with dental boards.

You must follow all the laws, rules, and guidelines for practicing dentists in Tennessee, and there are many of them. It's highly possible you don't know them all or every single action that the Board could consider “unprofessional conduct.” You could end up facing a license disciplinary issue for a minor issue or even when you haven't done something wrong.

If you do get accused of misconduct that puts your Tennessee dentist's license in jeopardy, you should contact a Professional License Defense Team, like the attorneys at the Lento Law Firm. We've helped dentists like you throughout Tennessee and around the country.

The Tennessee Board of Dentistry

The Tennessee Board of Dentistry oversees the licensure of all practicing dentists in the state. It also keeps a list of all the practitioners who hold a valid dentist's license in Tennessee. Tennessee law allows the Board of Dentistry to refuse to grant a license or discipline an individual who is already licensed if they've engaged in unprofessional conduct as well.

If the Board has reason to believe that you've conducted yourself in an unprofessional or unethical way, you could face disciplinary action. Tennessee law also explains what the adjudication process for alleged violations entails and which disciplinary actions the Board is allowed to take for dentists considered to be in violation.

Going up against the Tennessee Board of Dentistry if you've been accused of misconduct isn't a wise move. The Board has a team of legal professionals who are specialized in handling licensure disciplinary matters. They'll most likely have more knowledge and experience than you when it comes to holding onto your dentist's license. If you become involved in an investigation with the Tennessee Board of Dentistry, contact a Professional License Defense Team of attorneys like the Lento Law Firm. We've helped dentists nationwide and in Tennessee when they've had trouble with licensure.

What Actions Can the Tennessee Board of Dentistry Take Against You?

The Board of Dentistry has a wide range of actions it can take if it finds that you have violated any provision of the Tennessee Dental Practice rules. These disciplinary actions include:

  • Private censure
  • Public censure
  • Probation
  • Suspension (which prohibits you from practicing)
  • Revocation for cause
  • Conditions placed on your license, as deemed appropriate by the Board
  • Monetary penalty of between $50-$1,000.

Once you have complied with all the Board's conditions or restrictions, you must also complete an order of compliance if you want to obtain your license again. You'll have to submit a petition and provide proof that you met all of the Board's requirements.

Negotiating with the Board for a less severe sanction is much easier if you have an experienced lawyer on your side. At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team can not only help you defend yourself against the charges but also work to get a lesser disciplinary action concerning your license.

Grounds for Sanctions Against Dentists Practicing in Tennessee

Licensed dentists or applicants for a dentist's license can face disciplinary action from the Board of Dentistry in Tennessee for the following actions:

  • Selling or promoting goods, services, appliances, or drugs in an exploitative way and for financial gain
  • Directly or indirectly offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving a fee or another consideration in exchange for a patient referral
  • Failing to give a patient or client copies or documents that were prepared and paid for by the patient or client
  • Making false or materially incorrect or inconsistent entries in any patient records
  • Revealing personally identifiable facts, data, or information about a patient without their prior consent
  • Practicing services the licensee is not competent to perform
  • Delegating professional responsibilities to an unqualified person
  • Performing professional services not authorized by the patient or their legal representative
  • Failing to maintain an accurate treatment history for each patient
  • Failing to report suspected child abuse to the authorities
  • Failing to respond to written communications from the Department of Health
  • Falsifying, altering, or destroying treatment records when a Board investigation is imminent
  • Intentionally presenting false or misleading testimony to the Board
  • Preventing a witness or patient from testifying during a Board disciplinary investigation and hearing
  • Failing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Board
  • Violation of probation or other disciplinary conditions imposed by the Board
  • Practicing with an expired, retired, suspended, or revoked license
  • Prescribing controlled substances without substantial dental justification
  • Using or removing narcotics from a healthcare facility
  • Pre-signing blank prescription forms
  • Failing to make reasonable efforts to prevent partners, associates, or employees from engaging in professional misconduct
  • Engaging in interpersonal relationships that could impair professional judgment
  • Termination of a dentist-patient relationship without providing notice to the patient

Although the above list is long, it doesn't cover every action that could get you in trouble with the Board of Dentistry in Tennessee. The law clearly states that unprofessional conduct “includes but is not limited to” the above actions. Consequently, the Board could launch investigative and disciplinary procedures against you for something that isn't even listed in the statute.

When you're going up against the Board for a violation you didn't even know existed beforehand, you're already at a disadvantage. Level the playing field and give yourself an adequate chance at defense by contacting a Professional License Defense attorney, like the team at the Lento Law Firm.

How Does the Tennessee Board of Dentistry Receive License Complaints?

Any member of the public, a government entity, insurance companies, hospitals, healthcare facilities, the news media, or other sources can file a complaint against a dentist or any healthcare provider in the state of Tennessee. The Board of Dentistry receives complaints via the TN Department of Health, which has an online complaint form that anyone can fill out and submit.

The Board must review each complaint it receives to determine if it has merit. If it does, then the investigative and adjudication process is started. People who file complaints can remain anonymous and may also appeal the decision the Board comes to concerning your dentist's license.

One important thing to note is that the Board may only investigate complaints about you as a practitioner. It cannot help someone sue you for malpractice, nor can it represent you in criminal law proceedings.

The Adjudication Process for Dentist Licensing Issues in Tennessee

If the Board of Dentistry receives a complaint about a healthcare provider, it goes through a three-step adjudication process: Investigation, hearing, and reconsideration.


The first step in the adjudication process is gathering information. The Board may issue an investigative subpoena to you or people who associate with you regarding the complaint. If you receive a subpoena, you are compelled to provide the information that's asked for. Keep in mind that the Board cannot use a subpoena to get access to the dental records of patients not mentioned in the complaint.


Following the investigative subpoena is a hearing. All contested cases concerning dentist's licenses in Tennessee follow the same set of rules that apply to all state administrative agencies. These rules state what happens at a hearing and what type of evidence is allowed. At the hearing, an administrative judge listens to your and the other party's arguments. You may have counsel represent you at the hearing as well.

You can expect the hearing to include the following:

  • Calling and cross-examining witnesses
  • Providing evidence
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Making closing arguments

When the hearing ends, the administrative judge turns the case over to the chair of the Board of Dentistry, who issues a final order.


After the Board decides whether the allegations against you are true, you can file a petition for reconsideration. You must submit this petition within 20 days of the final order decision for it to be considered. If the Board grants your petition to reconsider, it will schedule another hearing. If you have any, you may present new evidence at this hearing.

Once the reconsideration hearing ends, the Board rules on whether to reconsider, and the decision is final. The final order will explain what your sanctions are or, if you have conditions placed on your license, what you must do to fulfill those conditions to get back in good standing.

We Serve Dentists Throughout Tennessee

The Lento Law Firm proudly helps dentists all over the state of Tennessee. We can help dentists practicing in:

  • Nashville
  • Memphis
  • Knoxville
  • Chattanooga
  • Kingsport-Bristol
  • Clarksville
  • Johnson City
  • Morristown
  • Jackson
  • Cleveland

Even if you don't practice or reside in one of Tennessee's major metro areas, our Professional License Defense Team is still ready to help you. Losing your dentist's license can have a devastating effect on your career and personal life. Don't let everything you've built go to waste over a licensing disciplinary issue.

Do You Need an Attorney for a TN Dentistry Licensing Issue?

If a licensing issue with the Tennessee Board of Dentistry isn't a legal matter, how can an attorney from the Lento Law Firm help? Our Professional License Defense Team can help you in several ways if you're facing license probation, suspension, revocation, or another sanction.

The main reasons you should consider hiring an attorney for your license defense case are:

  • You have to disprove the allegations against you. Unlike in a court of law, the Board doesn't have the burden of proving your misconduct. You are the one that must prove the allegation isn't true. An attorney can help you gather evidence and build your case.
  • The Board has ample resources. The Tennessee Board of Dentistry is backed by the State Department of Health and likely has a team of skilled attorneys and licensure professionals who deal with disciplinary matters like yours all the time. They're probably more experienced than you with licensing issues, so you shouldn't try to take them on alone.
  • We've defended countless dentists. The Lento Law Firm Team has helped dentists and other healthcare professionals nationwide with license disciplinary matters. We'll know how to handle your case and help you get a more favorable outcome.

If you hire the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team to help you defend your dentist's license, we can:

  • Create a defense strategy for your case
  • Gather relevant evidence and testimony
  • Negotiate with any Offices of General Counsel (OGCs) that have the authority to settle your case
  • Explore solutions outside of the typical adjudication process
  • Accompany you at all meetings and hearings
  • Take further action, such as filing a lawsuit if necessary

The Lento Law Firm Helps Dentists in Tennessee

Defending your dentist's license should be a priority, and our Professional License Defense Team is ready to start working on your case. Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to book a consultation.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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