The Lento Law Firm Can Help You Defend Your Michigan Dentist's License

In Michigan, the road to dentistry is a rewarding one, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

A Doctorate in Dental Surgery (DDS) requires a full-time, four-year commitment. Here, you master subjects like biomedical science, organic chemistry, and clinical care. That's after you obtain your four-year bachelor's degree and (preferably) a master's degree as well to help you ace your applications for dental school and a PhD program.

Thinking of specializing? You can add additional education for that, and let's not forget the fees associated with all that schooling, plus the time and effort (and cost) of setting up and growing your own practice.

It's easy to understand, then, why a dentist would want to do everything they can to defend that license and protect the practice they've worked so hard to build.

Unfortunately, sometimes, that protection means facing off against a state medical board, fighting an allegation of professional wrongdoing. And as you might imagine, that's not a battle you want to take on alone. State Boards have broad authority when it comes to regulating dentists, with the ability to impose fines and restrictions but also suspend and even revoke your license.

While that kind of regulation is certainly needed, it's also important that dentists have the legal counsel they need to present a strong defense as they navigate a confusing and often intimidating process.

And that's where we can help!

The Lento Law Firm Team has been working with dentists and other medical professionals for years, and we know how to defend a professional license. Our experience and knowledge of the law can help you present your best defense, and we're ready to go to work for you!

Just call our law firm today at (888) 535-3686 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.

Professional Regulation Through Michigan's Board of Dentistry

The Board of Dentistry (BOD or Board) is responsible for regulating dentists in Michigan. This Board was originally enacted in 1919 and now operates under Michigan's Administrative Code through its Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL). Other state entities involved in this regulation include the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) department, a division of Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Together, these entities implement and enforce the state's Public Health Code, as laid out in Michigan's Compiled Laws (MCL).

The BOD consists of 20 voting members, including 17 dental professionals and three members from the public. This entity regulates all professions associated with dentistry, including dental hygienists and dental assistants, as well as dentistry specialties, such as those working in oral pathology, periodontics, and oral surgery.

Dentistry licenses must be renewed every three years and are subject to verification of continuing education credits (CMEs) if randomly selected for audit.

Regulation includes both the issuance of new and renewal licenses, as well as certification of specialties, verification of CMEs, and resolving complaints of wrongdoing against a licensed dentist. This can include investigating the complaint, overseeing any hearings that may be necessary, and enforcing disciplinary action.

Actions and Behaviors That Can Put Your Dentist's License in Jeopardy

Like all healthcare professionals, dentists are held to a high standard of care in Michigan. This is to ensure that patients receive only the best treatment from providers that are sufficiently trained and skilled in dentistry. As a result, dentists must consistently demonstrate this exceptional level of skill, as well as behaviors that reflect a proper attitude and moral fiber.

Some of the actions and behaviors that are prohibited by the state's Public Health Code include:

  • Negligence
  • Incompetence
  • Substance abuse
  • A mental or physical disability that affects your ability to practice
  • Mental incompetency
  • Conviction of certain misdemeanors
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Fraud
  • Unethical business practices
  • Practicing without a license
  • Aiding or abetting others to commit an illegal or unethical act

It's important to note that this is only a portion of an extensive list that includes a variety of very broad definitions. For example, negligence doesn't just refer to your own actions; it also includes negligent supervision of dental assistants and other personnel. Likewise, unethical business practices can cover a wide variety of scenarios that could include your billing procedures, your hiring practices, and everything in between.

Acts that suggest a lack of good moral fiber are also on this list, leaving the Board and the BPL quite a bit of discretion in what constitutes a violation. The state of Michigan takes this regulation seriously, so rest assured - each complaint will be thoroughly considered before taking action.

Also worth noting, Michigan does have a mandatory reporting requirement that states any licensed professional is required to report a violation to the Board or BPL when they become aware of it and can do so confidentially. That means it's not just your own actions that can put your license at risk; failure to report someone else's wrongdoing can also be a violation, even if you weren't involved in the act.

You can find a complete list of potential offenses in Michigan's Compiled Laws (MCL 333.16221).

A Look at the Disciplinary Process for Licensed Dentists in Michigan

All complaints go through the BPL and can be submitted online through the state's Professional Licensing User System (MiPLUS). BPL makes an initial review and can do one of three things:

  • They can request authorization to investigate the complaint from the Board.
  • They can close the complaint, and no further action will be taken.
  • They can refer the complaint to another agency if it falls outside the jurisdiction of the BPL and LARA.

It's also important to note that BPL's investigation is independent of any other investigations that may be ongoing regarding the same incident. In some instances, LARA may work with law enforcement and other state agencies to investigate and resolve the complaint.

Should the BPL decide the case has merit AND falls under the Public Health Code, the agency will file an administrative complaint against the dentist.

Your Options When Facing an Administrative Complaint

If you've received notice that an administrative complaint has been filed against you, you'll need to make a decision about how you want to move forward. You can:

  • File your response and agree to a Consent Order. (This will result in sanctions.)
  • Request a conference with the BPL to settle the matter. (This can help you avoid a hearing but may still result in sanctions that can include suspension of your dentist's license. Also, note that the agreement must be approved by a segment of the Board known as a disciplinary subcommittee (DSC). If the DSC rejects the agreement (or if an agreement is not reached), your case will advance to an administrative hearing.)
  • Request a hearing with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR). (In this instance, an administrative judge will preside over the case and render a decision. This decision is then sent to the DSC for approval.)
  • Not respond to the complaint. (If you choose this option, you will be considered "in default," and the case will proceed to the Board for judgment.)

In any case, the DSC will have the final say over your case and any sanctions or penalties that may be enforced. These sanctions and penalties can range from a simple reprimand and monetary fines to practice restrictions, probation, and even permanent revocation. Also note that some fines can be as much as $250,000. A complete list of potential fines and penalties is included in Michigan's Public Health Code.

If you have received notice of a complaint, please contact our office immediately. Michigan's disciplinary process has strict timelines for your response and participation. In order to present your best defense and/or negotiate any terms or sanctions, you need to move quickly and strategically.

Having an experienced Professional License Defense Team at your side is the best way to take advantage of this opportunity, and the Lento Law Firm has that experience. We can help you navigate Michigan's disciplinary process and fight to achieve the best possible outcome.

IMPORTANT: Read This Before You Sign a Consent Order

A Consent Order is a binding, voluntary agreement between you and the BPL. In exchange for signing this type of agreement, you can (potentially) avoid further disciplinary procedures by agreeing to the charges and sanctions outlined in the order.

Essentially, it's a plea agreement, and in some cases, it can be your best option.

But before you sign, you should also know what you're giving up.

Like a traditional plea agreement, for example, you'll have to abide by any sanctions and penalties stipulated by the BPL. That includes any monetary fines and, yes, even license probation or suspension. You may also be required to take additional training classes, complete substance abuse treatment, or work under supervision for a given amount of time.

You're also waiving your right to present your defense. That means that 1) you are accepting the damage such an allegation will do to your professional reputation, and 2) your agreement will make it much harder to appeal down the road, should you change your mind.

And again, the Consent Order must be approved by the DSC before it's locked in. If your order is not approved, you'll have to continue with the disciplinary process despite your preference to avoid that situation.

We realize how stressful this process can be, and we understand your desire to "get it over with" and move on. However, an experienced attorney can help you figure out your best course of action and even help you negotiate the terms of your Consent Order if needed.

The Lento Law Firm Team has that experience, and we can help you defend your license. Call us today to schedule your consultation.

Understanding the Appeal Process for Michigan Dentists

If you've already completed Michigan's disciplinary process for dentists, and you'd like to appeal the ruling of the DSC, you can…

But there are some things you should know.

First, appeals go directly through the state's Court of Appeals. That means you'll need to be mindful of any deadlines and procedures imposed by that court to ensure your appeal is filed correctly and timely.

You should also know that the Appeals Court will only consider 1) whether the DSC acted within its authority (that is, whether the DSC's actions were "authorized by law") and 2) whether the DSC's ruling was based on "competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record."

These guidelines come straight from Michigan's Constitution, and it is the framework the Court of Appeals will rely on when considering your case.

This doesn't mean you can't win an appeal… you can. But it won't be easy, and of course, there's no guarantee. For these reasons, it's always advisable to consult with an experienced attorney before filing your appeal to make sure you're ready to present your best case.

The good news is our law firm can help!

Our experienced Professional License Defense Team is ready to represent you at an appeal hearing and advocate on your behalf. Don't try to navigate this process on your own. Let the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team go to work for you!

Can a Revoked License Be Reinstated?

In general, dentists in Michigan can apply for reinstatement of a suspended or temporarily revoked license after three years from the date of the official order. In some instances - depending upon the specific violation that caused the suspension - you may be required to wait five years before applying for reinstatement.

Your reinstatement application will be reviewed by LARA and the BPL. If it is approved, you will have to pay any applicable reinstatement and/or licensing fees, as well as submit to a new criminal background check.

LARA will return your application if it is submitted before the appropriate time frame has passed.

If your request is not approved, you will be granted a hearing to plead your case before a final ruling is given.

Licenses that have been permanently revoked are not eligible for reinstatement.

If you are planning to pursue reinstatement, be aware of any applicable timelines, and also note that you now bear the burden of proof.

During your original hearing, the BPL had to prove you committed the violations in question by a preponderance of the evidence; proving that you've reformed and are ready to return to practice will fall to you.

It's no wonder, then, that the reinstatement process can be an intimidating one, and it's not unusual to find that many dentists aren't sure of where to begin or how to properly prepare their cases. Working with an experienced license defense team can help ease some of that stress and ensure your case is presented in the best possible way.

Our office can help you fight to reclaim your license and regain your practice. Call us at (888) 535-3686 or go online to schedule a consultation.

What Areas of Michigan Does the Lento Law Firm Serve?

Our Professional License Defense Team works with dentists and other professionals across the county. We also work with all specialties and certifications too!

That means that it doesn't matter if you're a pediatric dentist working in Akron, an endodontist in Frenchtown, or a maxillofacial surgeon in Pontiac…

Redding and Reno, Jackson and Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Sterling Heights…

As a dental professional in Michigan, you'll receive the same dedicated legal assistance our firm is known for across the nation.

Find Out How the Lento Law Firm Team Can Help You Protect Your Dentist's License

Obtaining your dentist's license required skill, years of education, and plenty of hard work. And you've been building on that hard work ever since, establishing your professional reputation and growing your practice.

So, let us help you protect that investment now.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has many years of experience working with dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and other medical professionals. We understand the challenges you're facing, and we can help you navigate this process. Our Professional License Defense Team is ready to go to work for you! We can:

  • Respond to the initial complaint
  • Prepare and strengthen your defense by gathering evidence and support witnesses
  • Represent you in interactions with the Board, LARA, the BPL, and the Court of Appeals
  • File your appeal and present your case
  • Negotiate the best possible terms for a Consent Order
  • Negotiate during the disciplinary process

You are allowed to have legal counsel on your side. Take advantage of that opportunity and ensure you have the representation you need.

Our office can help you defend your license and protect your practice.

So, don't wait!

Contact the Lento Law Firm Team today at (888) 535-3686 or go online to schedule 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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