As a dentist in Wyoming, it can be shocking and upsetting to learn you are facing disciplinary action from the Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners. You have devoted your career to your patient's dental health and well-being. Likely, you have put your patients' needs above your own, coming in early or staying late for countless dental emergencies. When you have devoted so much to your dental practice, having disciplinary action brought against you can be particularly disheartening. At this stage, you may be unsure of what to do and fear losing your dentistry license.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is here to help. We often defend dentists throughout Wyoming against disciplinary proceedings. We understand how hard you have worked through several years of school at a significant financial cost to get where you are today. We appreciate your commitment to giving your patients the best care; now it is time for someone to take care of you and ensure you get the best possible outcome in your dentistry license disciplinary proceedings. Call Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3695 or contact us online for a consultation.
Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners Proceedings
The Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners is in charge of establishing and implementing rules and regulations surrounding the practice of dentistry in the state of Wyoming. This authority includes licensing and disciplinary action. The Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners maintains a public database of disciplinary actions taken by the Board.
Dentists are not the only professionals under the Board of Dental Examiner's purview. They also control the licensing for dental hygienists and assistants and issue and revoke dentist sedation permits. The number of complaints filed with the Board of Dental Examiners has been steadily decreasing, peaking in 2005 with 45 complaints, while in the past five years, there have only been between 8 and 13 complaints filed each year.
Laws and Regulations Governing Your Wyoming Dentistry License
The Dental Practices Act, governs everything related to dentistry and your dentistry license. In addition to the Dental Practices Act, a variety of regulations are also relevant to your licensure; these are found in the Wyoming Administrative Rules. The Board of Dental Examiners Wyoming Administrative Rule details the practice and procedures for disciplinary actions and licensure matters.
The Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners Disciplinary Process
When you retain a Lento Law Firm dental license defense attorney, they will walk you through every aspect of the proceedings and ensure you follow all relevant laws and regulations throughout your defense. Disciplinary proceedings before the Board of Dental Examiners can be a lengthy and complex endeavor, generally comprising of the following steps:
When a complaint is filed against you, it will be filed with the Board of Dental Examiners through its Complaint Report Form. Unlike complaints to other professional licensing boards, complaints to the Board of Dental Examiners cannot be anonymous. This is a good thing for you because it will allow you to address the concerns raised in the complaint and formulate an appropriate defense with the assistance of counsel.
When a complaint is filed, you will receive a copy of the complaint and all supporting documents. You will be allowed to respond to the allegations in the complaint. This response is critical; just like you wouldn't go into court alone, you should not be drafting a response to the complaint against you without advice from your Lento Law Firm attorney.
All complaints are assigned to an investigator and investigative committee. The investigator will collect evidence and interview the person who made the complaint and any witnesses to the conduct detailed in the complaint. The investigator may also contact you; you should not meet with an investigator until you have spoken with your attorney.
Following an investigation, the investigative committee can make the following recommendations to the Board of Dental Examiners:
- Dismissal of a complaint
- Issuance of an advisory letter
- Approval of a settlement agreement, which may include voluntary surrender, suspension, imposition of restrictions or conditions, reprimand, or other discipline
- Disciplinary action against the licensed dentist, including revocation, suspension, reprimand, restrictions or conditions, or other discipline
- Approval of a voluntary license surrender
In emergency situations where public health, safety, or welfare are at issue, the investigator may also recommend a summary suspension. The Board of Dental Examiners will conduct an expedited proceeding in this case. When a summary suspension has been recommended, the Board of Dental Examiners will meet at the earliest date possible. You will be notified as soon as a date is set.
The scope of the expedited proceeding is limited. The only evidence that may be presented at this meeting is information that supports the investigative committee's belief that emergency action is necessary. You will also be able to present evidence and argue that emergency action is not warranted. To ensure your defense is heard, you must adhere to the scope of evidence permitted in this meeting. It can be challenging to navigate what is appropriate to argue or share at this time, but the Lento Law Firm will ensure you proceed appropriately.
Regardless of how the Board of Dental Examiners votes, this is not the end of the proceedings. A meeting for summary suspension only addresses whether your license is active during the longer disciplinary process. It is essential to have counsel to assist you because you do not want your license suspended during a process that can take months to resolve. You want the ability to keep practicing and earning a living during this time without added financial stress.
Formal Disciplinary Action Proceedings
After the investigative committee has completed its investigation, it will notify you of its recommended action with a document called the Notice of Intent to Recommend Disciplinary Action. In its notification, there will be a description of the misconduct that warrants disciplinary action. You will then have 15 days to respond or comply with the notice.
After you have had an opportunity to respond, the investigative committee will initiate a formal proceeding by filing a petition with the Board of Dental Examiners. You will have 20 days to respond to the petition. Failure to respond can result in a default judgment against you, so you must respond immediately.
Board of Dental Examiners Vote
The Board of Dental Examiners must vote to accept the investigator's recommendation during a public meeting. If the Board accepts the recommendation and you contest the recommendation and allegations against you, the case will proceed with a hearing. Alternatively, the Board of Dental Examiners can immediately dismiss the complaint or issue an advisory letter.
If the Board of Dental Examiners accepts the investigative committee's recommendation, a hearing will be scheduled before the Board. You will receive notice, and it is crucial you attend this hearing, or a judgment can be automatically made against you. The hearing will be conducted consistent with the Office of Administrative Rules procedures. Your Lento Law Firm attorney is well-versed in these rules dictating what evidence is admissible in your case. Your attorney will also be with you to advocate for you throughout the hearing.
After deliberating on all the evidence presented in your case, the Board of Dental Examiners will make one of the following determinations:
- Reinstate your license if you are on a summary suspension
- Reinstate your license with conditions, restrictions, or other disciplinary action
- Deny reinstatement of your license
- Dismiss the petition with an advisory letter
- Impose a reprimand, conditions, restrictions, suspension, revocation, other discipline, or a combination of these options
The Board of Examiners will produce a written decision and order, which will be provided to you.
In the event you disagree with the outcome of your case, you have the right to an appeal. You should always fight for your license; it is too important to lose. The Lento Law Firm Team can help you in the appeal process and guide you through the appeals battle.
Allegations That Put Your Wyoming Dentistry License at Risk
The Board of Dental Examiners has the authority to take disciplinary action against any licensed dentist in the state for violating the Dental Practices Act and/or established rules and regulations. The Board of Dental Examiners may take disciplinary action if it believes the dentist has participated in any unprofessional conduct; it defines unprofessional conduct as a departure from, or failure to conform, to the standards of acceptable and professional practice. Such actions, which are detailed in Chapter 9 of the Board of Dental Examiners Administrative Rules, include, but are not limited to:
- Conduct that indicates the licensed dentist is grossly ignorant of health care and dental-related standards and protocols
- Conduct that indicates the licensed dentist is inefficient by failing to provide timely care to a patient or by failing to refer the patient when circumstances indicate referral is appropriate
- Conduct or factors that indicate the licensed dentist's competency is compromised
- Impairment due to drug or alcohol abuse that may have compromised or could compromise patient safety
- Impairment due to a physical or mental condition that may have compromised or could compromise patient safety
- Betraying the confidence of a patient
- Making intimate or sexual advances or making intimate or sexual contact with a patient
- Using sedative substances without explicit written consent by the patient
- Failing to make and maintain complete patient records consistent with prevailing record-keeping standards within the dentistry profession
- Failing to provide a patient or the Board of Dental Examiners with a full and complete copy of all patient records upon request
- Providing false, deceptive, or misrepresented information to the Board of Dental Examiners
- Failure to verify that all staff or contracted employees are licensed by the Board of Dental Examiners
- Directing or permitting any staff member to perform a procedure that is not licensed, certified, or competent to perform
Why You Need a Wyoming Dentistry License Defense Attorney
When you have a dentistry license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm, you are ensuring you obtain the best possible outcome in defending your dentistry license. The Board of Dental Examiners has no shortage of time and resources dedicated to building a strong disciplinary action case against you; they will leave no stone unturned. When battling against an agency this well-equipped, you need an expert on your side.
How a Wyoming Dentistry License Defense Attorney Can Help You
The Lento Law Firm team offers start-to-finish support during your dentistry license defense proceedings. Our attorneys will first learn the ins and outs of your case; we want to understand your side of the story and how the allegations against you came about. The team will then assist you in gathering evidence and strategizing and developing a solid and persuasive case to present to the Board of Dental Examiners.
As your attorneys, we will also represent you in any hearings and draft the numerous responses required throughout the disciplinary action process. An additional benefit of our firm is our working relationship with the Board of Dental Examiners. We help foster open communication between you and the Board of Dental Examiners, which can result in reaching a solution earlier in the disciplinary process and save you the time, energy, money, and stress of going through the entire disciplinary process.
Areas We Serve
The Lento Law Firm has advocated for dentists throughout the state of Wyoming. Our primary service areas include Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, and Laramie. But no matter where you are in the state, we can help.
License Defense Team for Wyoming Dentists
No matter what time of allegation you face or where you are located, the Lento Law Firm is here to fight for your dentistry license. We will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome, preserving your license, livelihood, and reputation. To retain The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team, call 888.535.3685 or contact us online today.