Your oral health is crucial for overall well-being. Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants ensure that people enjoy good oral health. They care for people’s teeth, gums, jawbones, and other underlying structures in the mouth. With the help of these professionals, people can enjoy beautiful, solid, and healthy teeth for life.

Dentists, dental hygienists, and assistants work together to offer quality dental care. It takes a long time of training and experience to master the skills and perform well in this profession. The Dental Board of California ensures that Californians receive dental services only from well-trained dentists. Sadly, it takes just one mistake or complaint for you to lose everything you have worked very hard for.

But our skilled license defense attorneys at the Law Office of Sara L. Caplan can help you defend your license, career, and livelihood. We know what the law states, the regulations governing licensed professionals, and the legal process you must go through to defend your license. With our assistance, you can successfully retain your license and ability to perform your duties for your patients in Los Angeles.

What The Role of Dental Workers Entail

Dental workers offer some of the most crucial services in California. They ensure that you enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile and that your teeth and gums are always functional. The advancing technology has even improved their services, as they can use state-of-the-art tools and equipment to offer even better dental services. It means dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants require quality skills and experience to perform their duties. They can diagnose precisely and perform different types of dental procedures with proper knowledge.

Dental hygienists are also trained to care when preparing patients for dental procedures. For example, they must take precautions when administering anesthesia, ensuring they administer the correct dosages. Dentists and dental assistants also handle other matters outside of work, including billing insurance companies. A misunderstanding or mistake when performing these duties can result in severe repercussions.

Dental assistants work very closely with dentists. Their role is invaluable in a dental office. As a certified dental assistant, you must ensure the dentist has everything they need to care for a patient. For example, you confirm that your dentist has the necessary tools. You can also serve clients in your dentist’s absence, but only on matters requiring minor treatments. You must ensure that dental patients are physically and emotionally prepared for treatment. You calm the anxious ones and answer their questions to prepare them for what to expect. Your duty as a dental assistant also entails sterilizing the dentist's tools for treatment. With that kind of responsibility, it is possible to encounter issues and complaints that could threaten your license.

If you are a dental hygienist, your role is crucial in dentistry. Your license and registration require you to ensure that dental patients maintain good oral health. You do that by encouraging them to practice good oral health. Then, they can avoid serious dental problems like cavities and periodontal disease. You are also responsible for assisting the dentist in removing stains, tartar, and plaque from clients’ teeth. You can apply fluorides and sealants to their teeth to protect them from damage. These responsibilities involve working very closely with dental patients and their families. A small mistake or misunderstanding can cause major problems that could seriously impact your career and license.

Skilled license attorneys understand the scope of your work and how crucial it is to keep you in operation. Sometimes, patients do not tell these three professionals apart. Other times, they have irrational expectations or are quick to judge a dental worker based on their expected outcome. Sometimes, you make mistakes, but your patients make them appear more severe than they are.

Regardless of what happened, you deserve a second chance or an opportunity to defend your license. If not, you could lose what you have worked very hard to achieve for years. That is why you must work closely with an experienced license attorney if you face charges or accusations that could result in the suspension or revocation of your professional license. It will help you keep doing what you enjoy and earn a living.

Possible Complaints and Allegations You Can Face as a Dental Worker

Dental patients file many complaints against their dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists. The most common complaints and allegations are:

  • Failing to attend to a dental patient in genuine need of treatment
  • Failing to abide by the conditions of a previous citation by the board
  • Using fraud or other unlawful means to obtain your professional license
  • Accepting kickbacks to refer patients to a specialist or prescribe a particular medication or dental appliance
  • Failing to disclose crucial information to a patient regarding their dental problem or referral service
  • Using misleading or false advertisement or marketing tactics to lure unsuspecting patients
  • Administering excess treatment or prescriptions
  • Sexual misconduct or abuse against a client or colleague
  • Failing to refund clients or insurance companies for overpayments
  • Committing any kind of insurance fraud
  • Having a physical or mental illness that inhibits your ability to perform your duty safely and adequately
  • Withholding misleading, false, faulty, or financial records to later use against a patient
  • Writing prescriptions or administering anesthesia without a permit
  • Incompetence, negligence, or gross negligence when performing your duty
  • Being convicted of a criminal offense that affects your ability to perform your professional duties
  • Allowing an assistant to work under your supervision without proper qualifications and a license
  • Failing to supervise your assistant
  • Performing medical procedures out of your expertise or exceeding the limitations of your professional license
  • Drug or substance abuse, especially while on the job
  • Dealing with controlled substances while on the job

Dental Board of California Disciplinary Guidelines

The board has disciplinary guidelines used by administrative judges during administrative hearings to determine cases of dental workers facing charges. These guidelines help the judges decide the outcome of cases brought before the board. The guidelines clearly show that the board will take the patient’s side when a matter is brought before it. But you are allowed to defend your actions and license. Even though the board issues professional licenses to qualified dental workers, its mandate lies with dental patients and members of the public. That mandate ensures that the public enjoys competent and safe dental services.

Sadly, most allegations brought against dental workers are exaggerated, false, misleading, and not related to their responsibilities. But the board will treat every complaint and report it receives in its office or on its website seriously. Remember that the board owes the public a duty of care. That is why it is possible to face serious allegations provided that a patient or a patient’s family is unpleased with your services.

But you must build a solid defense against those complaints or allegations to defend your license successfully. You can keep your license and defend your reputation with the right defense.

The board has several disciplinary actions to take against licensed dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants found guilty of professional misconduct. Examples include the following:

Citations and Fines

The board issues citations and fines for minor complaints against dental workers. But your citation will publicly appear on the board’s website. It can still hurt your efforts to find new patients or employment. That is why you must fight it.

Public Reprimands

These work the same as citations but do not include paying a fine to the board. You will receive a public reprimand if the details of the allegations against you do not include actual harm to a dental patient. A public reprimand is like a warning against similar behavior or omissions in the past. Since the reprimand is public, your patients and potential patients will likely see it and can decide whether or not to engage with you in the future.

Interim Suspension

Every licensed professional’s greatest nightmare is losing their license, even temporarily. Since the board takes its duty to the public very seriously, it could suspend your license in the event of serious professional misconduct. For example, if the board believes you are about to commit an unsafe act against a patient, it can suspend your license pending investigations. It means that you will not be able to work during that period. However, an aggressive license attorney can overturn the suspension so you can continue serving your patients while under investigation.

Probation and Stay of Revocation

Instead of revoking your license, the board can agree to place you on probation upon your attorney’s request. That option is best if your attorney cannot overturn the license revocation. This option allows you to continue working with your patients under strict professional conditions. Your attorney can fight further to minimize your probation.

When the allegations against you are serious, it could be difficult even for an aggressive incense attorney to compel the board to dismiss the matter or let you go without disciplinary action. Placing you on probation means that you will be under the close supervision of the board as you carry on with your duties. But the board will give you some probation conditions you must abide by throughout that period. For example, it could require you to undergo drug treatment or rehabilitation if you have a drug or alcohol problem. You cannot violate these terms, as the board can revoke the probation and suspend or revoke your license.

Probation can be tough, especially because of the limitations you receive through probation terms and conditions. However, a license attorney can negotiate better terms to make it more bearable. They can also negotiate for shorter probation to allow you to return to your professional life sooner rather than later.

License Revocation or Suspension

This is the worst you can receive from the board due to severe allegations or patient complaints. The board can permanently revoke your license, meaning that you will no longer serve in the same capacity as a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant. Sometimes, the board is lenient and can suspend your license for a predetermined period. It means you can return to your profession after the revocation period.

What Does the Board Consider?

The board’s decision on the disciplinary action to take against you for professional misconduct is based on several factors, including the following:

  • The facts of the case
  • How severe the violation was
  • Whether the alleged victim suffered actual harm
  • The possible harm you could have caused
  • If you have prior disciplinary actions against your professional license
  • If the current allegation is just one or numerous
  • Any mitigating or aggravating factors in your case
  • If you have previously been treated for drug or alcohol abuse or psychological or emotional issues
  • If you are furthering or have plans to further your education in dentistry,
  • Whether you have a criminal history that is related to your profession and how long ago the conviction was

Even though the board deliberates on the most suitable disciplinary action against you, your attorney can compel them to be lenient. For example, if there are mitigating factors, like a good track record of performance, the board could be willing to negotiate for a favorable outcome, especially if this is the first complaint against you.

Find a Competent License Attorney Near Me

A professional license is crucial for a dentist, dental assistant, and dental hygienist. It proves you have the required skills and can offer your services in Los Angeles. You cannot render services without it, which could mean a lost livelihood. Complaints and allegations from aggrieved patients, employers, and colleagues are some of the reasons why the Dental Board of California can suspend or revoke your license. But the board allows you to defend your license and yourself against those allegations.

We can work with you to gather evidence and prepare a solid defense against your allegations at Law Office of Sara L. Caplan. We understand how hard you have worked to obtain that license and what you could lose if you lost it. Call us at 310-550-5877, and let us review your case and discuss your options.