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Dental Practice Pitfalls - Article from Kutak Rock LLP

June 1, 2017

Whether you are a dental student on the threshold of a bright dental career (but laboring under a mountain of student debt), an orthodontist with a successful practice looking to expand, a senior practitioner pondering a deal with a dental service organization (“DSO”), or a dentist entangled in the web of corporate dentistry (and looking for a way out), there are a multitude of legal rules that must be observed. These rules likely are not emphasized in dental school, and are often beyond the experience of lawyers who do not practice in this highly regulated arena. These rules, depending on your perspective, may be thought of metaphorically as keys—either opening doors of opportunity or confining you within a dangerous long-term relationship.

We will discuss below some significant dental practice pitfalls (this is not exhaustive), but first would emphasize what lawmakers were trying to do in crafting laws regulating the dental profession. The rules are not, as some would contend, only quaint and irrelevant relics of an antiquated practice model from the past. Rather, their purpose generally is to ensure that the judgment and duties of the dentist are focused on quality patient care and not torn between quality patient care and revenue-maximizing demands from persons or entities outside the profession. In other words, dental practice regulations continue to be relevant and continue to be vigorously enforced in most parts of the country.

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