The practice of dentistry in Texas is a career toward which a practitioner strives through much education and effort. It is a vital service, one on which the lives and health of our citizens depend. The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners is charged with establishing the suitability of individuals for licensure and with maintaining that licensure through the course of their dental careers. It is also the organization under whose auspices falls the prerogative to discipline dentists—up to and including the right to strip dentists of their licenses. The levels of discipline to which a dentist may be subject do not start there, however. There is something of a scale—both of offenses alleged and of disciplinary decisions meted out.
The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners - Disciplinary Matrix establishes this scale of violations by tiers.
A First Tier Violation is considered to be "isolated dishonorable conduct resulting in no adverse patient effects." Such a violation, being the least harmful of categories, is met with the lowest level of sanction: generally a Remedial Plan is drawn up, requiring of the practitioner a course of continuing education, or restitution to the patient for whatever amount of harm or economic duress has come as a result of the harm done, or a reprimand with stipulations—or some mixture of all three.
A Second Tier Violation is composed of a repetitive pattern of dishonorable conduct, or consists of some conduct that puts a patient or members of the public at risk of harm, or of conduct that has a negative effect on a practitioner’s ability to treat their patients according to the profession’s standard of care. Sanctions that the TSBDE may levy may therefore be more severe: ranging from a warning or reprimand, or probated suspension with stipulations, all the way up to suspension of the practitioner’s license, or a request that they voluntarily surrender their license, or even full revocation if the Board determines it necessary.
The final level is a Third Tier Violation, which includes such acts as sexual engagement with a patient; financial exploitation or conduct causing a patient financial loss of $5000 or more; repeated acts of dishonorable conduct, or conduct resulting in harm to a patient or a member of the public; and failing to comply with a board ruling about conduct that has resulted in serious harm to a patient; among others. For such behaviors, a dentist’s license may be denied, put on emergency suspension, requested for voluntary surrender, or revoked in full.
If you find yourself accused of a punishable act by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced dental license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the complaint process. We are skilled at assisting dental professionals. Immediately consulting an experienced license defense attorney to review allegations of misconduct helps to ensure the most favorable outcome in your case.
With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.