April 18, 2022

Board Complaints: What Dentists Need to Know – Part IV

By Derek Funk

Our last post looked at Dental Board’s investigation process. Our final post will look at actions the Board can take in response to a complaint they decide not to dismiss–including issuing a non-disciplinary order or disciplinary action.

What Is A Non-Disciplinary Order?

If the Dental Board doesn’t dismiss the complaint against you, but does not believe formal discipline is appropriate, it can take non-disciplinary action against you under A.R.S. § 32-1263.01(B). This typically takes one of two forms.  The first is a non-disciplinary letter of concern.  The letter of concern is just what it sounds like.  It is a letter from the Dental Board, expressing concern over the manner in which you handled a case. and warning that similar conduct may lead to disciplinary action in the future.

The second is a non-disciplinary order for continuing education.  This is an order requiring that you take a certain amount of CE credit within a certain period of time.  This can vary, based on the issues before the Dental Board.  However, this is usually 4-8 hours of CE in a particular subject, over a period of 6-12 months.

Since these are not considered disciplinary actions, the Dental Board can issue these without a formal interview.  Importantly, if the Dental Board enters a non-disciplinary order, it cannot award restitution to the complainant.  Therefore, if you refund any money paid to you by the patient, the Dental Board may determine that although you have committed a violation, it may not rise to the level where it should impose discipline against the dentist.

What Disciplinary Action Can The Board Take?

If the Dental Board determines that a violation rises to the level where discipline is appropriate, there are several actions it can take.  The most extreme remedies are the revocation or suspension of a dentist’s license.  However, there are lesser remedies the Board can enforce.  These include placing restrictions on a dentist’s license and entering a decree of censure against the doctor.   Additionally, this can also include a disciplinary order to attend continuing education.  This could occur if, for example, a doctor refuses to refund a patient for fees paid.

Notably, one thing the Dental Board cannot do is to award damages to a patient.  It can order restitution and an administrative penalty under A.R.S. § 32-1263.01, but that is the limit of the monetary award it can make.

If you have received a Dental Board complaint and are concerned about the potential effect it can have on your license, reach out to an Arizona attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case and discuss your options.


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.