What to Do If You Lose Your California Dentistry License

| Posted in Licensing Defense on June 10, 2024

Becoming a dentist takes a lot of time, work, and money. Once you have graduated from dental school and completed a residency, you will still need to pass examinations to secure a dental license. Given this, it can be devastating to learn that you may lose your license through disciplinary action.

The Dental Board of California is responsible for licensing dentists within the state. It also investigates complaints that arise under the Dental Practice Act (DPA). More serious allegations of professional misconduct may result in the most severe sanction – dental license revocation. If your dental license has been revoked, you may be able to appeal the decision or petition for reinstatement after a set period has elapsed. 

At the Law Offices of Nicole Irmer, we work with dentists and other healthcare workers whose professional licenses are in jeopardy. We offer skilled, compassionate representation, working hard to help our clients get the best possible outcome for their cases. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a consultation with a California dental license defense attorney.

Common Reasons for License Revocation

The Dental Board is responsible for investigating alleged violations of the DPA. A complaint can be filed by a patient, a patient’s family, a member of the public, a colleague, or even an insurance company. In some cases, a law enforcement agency will refer a matter to the Dental Board based on a concurrent criminal investigation.

The Complaint and Compliance Unit (CCU) investigates initial complaints. In some cases, a complaint may be closed if it is unsubstantiated. Minor violations may be resolved with a public reprimand or a citation and fine. If substantiated, more serious allegations will be referred for further investigation and possible filing of an Accusation by the Office of the Attorney General.

There are several possible sanctions for disciplinary action, including probation, license suspension, and license revocation. A revocation is the most serious consequence. This discipline may be imposed for allegations of unprofessional conduct and violations of the Dental Practice Act, such as:

  • Gross negligence or incompetence (violations of quality of care standards)
  • Substance use during the practice of dentistry
  • Sexual misconduct with a patient
  • Fraud (such as overbilling or improper billing)
  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Mishandling prescriptions or drugs
  • Excessive prescribing of controlled substances
  • Criminal charges, arrest, or conviction
  • Violation of a condition of probation
  • Accepting or receiving rebates

If the Dental Board has accused you of any type of professional misconduct or if you have been charged with a criminal offense, then your top priority should be scheduling a consultation with a San Diego dental license defense attorney. Your lawyer can develop a strategy that is designed to achieve the best possible outcome – which may include avoiding the most serious consequence of revocation.

The Reinstatement Process

It may be possible to have your California dental license reinstated. Generally, you can apply to have your license reinstated with the Dental Board after a set period has elapsed. Typically, you must wait 1 to 3 years to apply for reinstatement. You cannot apply for reinstatement if you are under a sentence for a criminal conviction, including probation or parole.

To be reinstated, you will need to fill out the appropriate forms and submit documentation to the Dental Board. This includes proving to the Board that your dental license should be reinstated. Generally, this means that you must show that you have been rehabilitated, that you have maintained your professional knowledge and training, and that you are safe to practice dentistry. 

The exact documentation necessary will depend on the underlying reason for the license revocation. For example, if your license was revoked due to substance abuse issues, then you may need to submit proof that you have completed a rehab program and that you continue to go to meetings and therapy to address the issues that caused you to abuse drugs or alcohol. The Dental Board will review all submitted evidence and determine reinstatement.

Having your dental license reinstated can be challenging, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process and don’t know the standards and laws that the Dental Board utilizes when making a decision. Our California dental license defense lawyers can help you with a petition for reinstatement, from gathering evidence to helping you draft a narrative to advocating for you with the Board.

Strategies to Prevent Dental License Issues

Losing your dental license can be emotionally and financially devastating. After working hard to become a dentist and build a practice, the loss of your license can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to defend and protect your license from revocation and other disciplinary actions.

One of the most important things that you can do is contact a healthcare license defense attorney as soon as possible in the disciplinary process. As soon as you learn of a complaint against you, you should reach out to a lawyer for advice and information. 

At the Law Offices of Nicole Irmer, we take a proactive approach to dental license defense. We reach out to Board investigators after performing our investigation and gathering evidence to support your case. We try to resolve the matter without a formal Accusation being filed.

If an Accusation is filed, then we will attempt to negotiate a stipulated settlement with the Board. Doing so can often result in a more favorable outcome – and can help you avoid the stress and expense of a formal hearing. If we cannot agree with the Board, we will advocate for you in an administrative hearing. If necessary, we will file an appeal of the disciplinary decision.

Getting involved early is one of the best ways to protect your dental license. While each case is different, it is often possible to develop evidence that disproves or minimizes the allegations against you. Mitigating evidence can also be used to demonstrate that you deserve a lower level of discipline (if any). 

Our law firm represents dental professionals through each stage of the disciplinary process. We understand that even conscientious dentists may make an error or go through a difficult time. Our goal is to help these dentists get the help that they need and whenever possible, to allow them to keep their dental licenses.

Dealing with Dental License Issues? Give Us a Call.

A dental license is required to practice dentistry in the state of California. If the Dental Board has revoked your license, our law firm can help you with the reinstatement process. If you are currently under investigation, we can work with you to protect your license.

At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, our practice is dedicated to helping dental professionals who are facing disciplinary action — including dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. Whether you are just starting the disciplinary process or are seeking reinstatement, our California healthcare license defense lawyers will advocate for you and work hard to protect your license. To schedule a confidential consultation about legal representation for dental license issues, contact us at (619) 237-6310 or email us at any time.