Orthodontist in Trouble for Offering Dental Cleanings

November 21, 2013

A Fort Smith, Arkansas, orthodontist has agreed not to offer dental cleaning to the general public -- at least for now, says Mark Friedman, senior editor of Arkansas Business.

  • Dr. Ben Burris, who is licensed as both a dentist and as an orthodontist, was offering dental cleanings to the general public in his Braces by Burris orthodontics clinics.
  • Burris said he offered the service because it was good for his business and good for the public.
  • The price was $98 for an adult and $68 for a child, which Burris has said was about half of what dentists in northeast Arkansas typically charge.

But dentists complained and Burris was hauled in front of the dental board in September for violating Arkansas' Dental Practice Act, which prohibits orthodontists and other specialists from practicing outside their specialty.

  • On October 31, Burris signed a consent order with the Arkansas Board of Dental Examiners to end its inquiry into whether Burris' actions violated the Dental Practice Act.
  • The CEO of Burris' companies, Matt Wilkins, said that if Burris hadn't signed the consent order, the dental board would have brought charges against Burris and "attacked his specialty license and very likely his Arkansas dental license."

Burris plans to challenge the act, either through the courts or in the legislature. He said he expects the campaign will cost more than $1 million over the course of a few years.

"It's incredibly archaic," Burris said. "I graduated seventh out of the class of 80 dental students ...and I can't do the most basic of all dental" procedures? Burris asked. "And, of course, the flip side of this, any dentist with no training at all can do braces."

Burris said he's already seen the backlash from dentists in northeast Arkansas for offering lower prices for cleanings.

Source: Mark Friedman, "Ben Burris Plans To Challenge Arkansas Dental Practice Act," Arkansas Business, November 4, 2013.

 

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