February 15, 2022

Board Complaints: What Dentists Need to Know – Part II

By Derek Funk

In part 1 of this series, we looked at what the Dental Board investigates. In this post, we will look at what to do if you receive a Dental Board complaint.

How Do I Respond To A Dental Board Complaint?

Dentists’ best course of action after receiving dental board complaints is often to contact an attorney who has experience with the Board complaint process.  You may also want to contact your professional liability insurer to see if your policy provides license defense coverage.  If so, your insurance company may select a lawyer and pay the cost of defense.  Although you do not have to have a lawyer, there are good reasons to have one in place as soon as possible.

A lawyer will know how the investigation and complaint process works.  In reviewing your records, the lawyer may also be able to anticipate additional potential issues, beyond what is alleged in the complaint.  A lawyer can advise on the potential penalties you may face, argue for your position and, depending on the circumstances, may be able to negotiate on your behalf to obtain a reduced penalty.

If the notice of the Board complaint includes a subpoena, as they often do, you will want your attorney involved in determining how best to respond to the subpoena.  A subpoena is an order directing the dentist to turn over documents related to the complaint.  Your attorney may also determine whether there are any valid objections to the subpoena.  Therefore, the earlier in the process you involve a lawyer, the better.

Do I Have To Turn My Records Over To The Board?

In most cases, yes.  You will have to turn over your records in response to a dental board subpoena under Arizona law.  In fact, A.R.S. § 32-1201.01(23) identifies failing to timely respond to a Board subpoena as unprofessional conduct.  Having said that, there may be legitimate reasons to object to a subpoena.  If you receive a Dental Board subpoena, you should discuss how best to respond with your legal counsel.

Our next post in this series will look at what happens during Dental Board investigations.


This post is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed attorney. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by the posting of this information.  If you have specific legal questions after reading this post, you should contact a licensed attorney.