The Dental Board of California (DBC)'s investigation process begins with a complaint. Such complaints can be filed by patients, workers, law enforcement, health care providers, and others who deem such complaints as necessary. Filed complaints and cases usually revolve around alcohol, drug, or controlled substance usage, ineptitude in carrying out the duties, repeated and/or gross negligence, or criminal activity. The complaint is investigated by the DBC's Enforcement Program, which determines whether the complaint falls within the purview of the DBC or needs to be referred to a different agency.

If the complaint is correctly filed, then the Enforcement Program analysts evaluates whether the complaint is warranted. Analysts collect dental records from the person who filed the complaint as well as information and records from the dental professionals who are related to the complaint. From there, the complaint is reviewed by the board's dental consultants. If the complaint is determined to be unjustified, then the complaint is closed. If the complaint is deemed warranted, the next phase for the filed complaint is inspection or investigation.

Investigation Process

Next, the Enforcement Program analysts look into the complaint in a more detailed manner. During this stage of the complaint process, if the complaint is deemed unfounded after further inspection or investigation, then the complaint is dismissed.

Based on the degree of the violation, the dentist may face a misdemeanor and a small fine, or, in more serious criminal offenses, there may be formal charges brought against the dentist.

If the analyst determines the complaint involves unsafe or unhygienic conditions, the dentist will be given administrative warnings and citations, based on their findings and the degree of the hazardous conditions. If at fault, the dentist will then have to pay any applicable fines and provide proof that the condition has been amended.

If the complaint involves dental professionals committing criminal activity, the complaint will be reviewed by a peace officer. This can include criminal activity such as unlawful treatment toward the patient (i.e., battery or sexual misconduct); alcohol, drug, or controlled substance use and/or violations; billing and insurance fraud; and unlicensed dental practices. If the investigation reveals evidence that the dental professional is guilty of criminal activity, the unlawful affairs are filed with the local district attorney's offices or the Attorney General of California for prosecution.

Having a Lawyer

Even if the complaint is in the beginning stages of review, you should contact an experienced health care attorney immediately so you have proper representation throughout the process. Send an email to Kevin Cauley, P.C., or call 213-465-1153 today.