Dental Lawyers: Lawyers for Dentists

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Experienced Dental Lawyers

At Koziebrocki Law, we have extensive experience defending dentists at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”). We assist with responding to complaints, investigations, and disciplinary proceedings to help defend dentists.

Josh Koziebrocki regularly speaks on dental legal issues and has published articles in the Ontario Dentist Journal and Oral Health magazine. We are defence counsel to the Canadian Dental Protective Association (“CDPA”).

RCDSO Complaints & Dentists

As professional regulation and discipline lawyers, we help dentists respond to dental complaints at the RCDSO. Complaints to the RCDSO can be made by patients, staff, other dental professionals, or even members of the public who are not patients.

Dentists should take all complaints seriously, as any decision by the RCDSO could have a lasting impact on their practice. The decision will also remain on file at the RCDSO and can impact future complaints or other RCDSO proceedings.

How Our Dental Lawyers Assist Dentists

Our team of defence dental lawyers work extensively with dentists on various regulatory issues, including the following:

  • Assisting dentists to respond to patient complaints at the RCDSO.
  • Responding to various inquiries, including defending dentists at RCDSO discipline hearings and RCDSO quality assurance committee (“QAC”) inquiries.
  • Advocating on behalf of dentists to resolve matters through the RCDSO Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) process;
  • Representing dentists in RCDSO appeals before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”) (e.g., where a decision of the RCDSO’s Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (“ICRC”) has been made);
  • Navigating standard of practice issues, billing and insurance issues, record keeping, privacy breaches, and public health inquiries;
  • Responding to allegations of professional misconduct at the RCDSO;
  • Assisting with RCDSO fitness to practice matters;
  • Facilitating the process between dentists and the RCDSO where clients are required to take educational courses, including through undertakings and Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Programs (“SCERP”);
  • Representing dentists with insurance delisting issues with insurers;
  • Assisting dentists with RCDSO registration issues and licence applications, including working with foreign-trained dentists;
  • Reporting past history, including criminal charges and findings of guilt, to the RCDSO; and
  • Advising dentists on employment, business, and contract issues related to their staff or other dental professionals, including drafting, and reviewing dental employment agreements and dental associate agreements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dentist Lawyers

What is a dental lawyer?

A dentist lawyer is a professional regulation lawyer who represents dentists against claims made against their practice. A defence dentist lawyer can offer expertise and strategic advice to defend dentists against complaints, investigations, and disciplinary affairs.

When may I need a dental lawyer?

Dentist lawyers offer protection for dental professionals who have been accused of wrongdoing by a patient. They provide an in-depth defence in cases and are often used in cases pertaining to:

Record Keeping: Inadequate or incorrect dental record keeping can result in significant issues for dentists and their practice and is seen by the RCDSO as a form of professional misconduct. It’s imperative to keep detailed records of a patient’s dental history and any conditions or diagnoses. If there are discrepancies, dentist lawyers are brought in to provide legal counsel.

Consent to Treatment: Dentists are responsible for ensuring patient consent in all dental treatments. Consent must be clearly documented, detailed, related to the associated treatment, and given voluntarily. Without proper documentation, dentists are liable for any claims brought forth by a patient.

Standard of Care: If a patient feels they have not received the standard level of care, dentists could face significant consequences. Alleged issues pertaining to the standard of care may include overtreatment, aggressive treatment plans, excessive or unnecessary pain, or failure to disclose a dental condition. As dental lawyers in Toronto and across Ontario, Koziebrocki Law’s team of lawyers is well equipped to assist dentists with their defence.

Malpractice: A dental malpractice claim refers to any dental procedure performed inadequately that resulted in injury, pain, or even death. If there is a failure to diagnose or treat serious dental conditions, a patient could file a malpractice claim. Malpractice is one of the most severe consequences a licensed dentist can face and must be handled by professionals. Koziebrocki Law dentist lawyers are equipped with the expertise and resources to prepare a strong defence for dentists.

What is the RCDSO?

The RCDSO is the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, a regulatory body for dentists in Ontario. They are responsible for protecting patients’ rights and ensuring they receive quality dental care.

If a complaint is brought against a dentist, the RCDSO will assign an investigator to review the complaint and gather necessary facts and details about the claim.

How to respond to a complaint to the RCDSO

If a claim is brought forth by a patient, dental lawyers are brought in to represent the defendant and provide expert legal counsel to navigate these proceedings.

The initial step is to prepare a written response detailing, in chronological order, the details of the care provided and any relevant information. In many cases, you will not have the opportunity to speak in person with the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, which means your written response is imperative and must demonstrate that you have taken appropriate action to ensure all concerns have been addressed.

Certain circumstances may void the need for a written response, and you may be granted the opportunity to verbally repeal your case to the ICRC. However, your professional dental lawyers will help you prepare for this step if necessary.

Once your written response has been granted, it is submitted to the ICRC investigator. When you work with Koziebrocki Law, your dental lawyer will provide expert legal counsel to help you navigate claims brought against your practice and ensure the appropriate response is provided to the RCDSO.

What information is published on the RCDSO public register?

Under the public register of the RCDSO, a dentist’s practice details are available for viewing, including their name and practice, date and class of registration, address, and particular details that pertain to any current legal proceedings.

Regulatory findings have become more transparent in recent years, and dentists must be aware of these changes to address any findings against them. Following an investigation, the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (“ICRC”) may dispose of a dentist in several ways with increased information added to the public register.

The available information may include any cautions against the dentist, an order to complete a specified continuing education or remediation program, a period of practice monitoring, or any necessary referrals to discipline or incapacity hearings.

Additionally, there may be an available summary of the allegations, the outcome, and the penalty from these disciplinary proceedings. At Koziebrocki Law, our professional dental lawyers in Toronto and across Ontario will help you understand the nuances of your case, so you are as prepared as possible for your proceeding.

How can we help?

  • Please note that sending a message to us will not make us your lawyers. You will not be considered a client of the firm until we have agreed to act for you in accordance with our usual policies for accepting clients. Unless you are a current client of Koziebrocki Law, please do not include any confidential information in your message, because no information you send us can be held in confidence, and no information we provide to you can be treated by you as legal advice, unless and until we have agreed to act for you.
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What Dentists Need to Know about Ungovernability

Ungovernability has been defined as an unwillingness to accept regulatory authority. It refers to a particular kind of unprofessional conduct, generally a persistent failure to co-operate with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”). The consequences of being found to be ungovernable can be severe – and even result in the revocation of a dentist’s certificate of registration.

What is Published on the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s Public Register?

We often assist dentists who have questions regarding the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s (“RCDSO”) public register. Upon receiving a complaint to the RCDSO, dentists should be aware that the process has the potential to result in the publication of a notation that is critical of their professional care. In this article, we will summarize some of the most relevant information regarding the public register.

Responding to Section 75 Investigations at the RCDSO

We often assist dentists with a variety of matters at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”). This includes responding to formal investigations under subsections 75(1)(a), (b), and (c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code (“HPPC”).

Complaints in the time of COVID-19 at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

Novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed daily life. As healthcare providers, dentists have additional considerations throughout the immediate phase of the pandemic, as well as in its aftermath. Even as society emerges from a state of crisis, this unique situation will continue to present the potential for a variety of new complaints against dentists at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”).

Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario: What You Need to Know

You receive a worrisome communication. A complaint has been made against you regarding your professional conduct as a dentist, and news of the complaint has arrived in a confidential letter from your regulator, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). The letter notes that the RCDSO offers a voluntary and confidential program as a means of potentially resolving the complaint: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). You are likely unfamiliar with the process and understandably concerned. This article describes what you should know. 

Dental Recordkeeping at the RCDSO

Keeping inadequate or inaccurate records is an act of professional misconduct at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). Dentists are the custodians of their patients’ records, and have professional, ethical, and legal responsibilities to document all aspects of dental care. Based on our extensive experience representing dentists, we have prepared this introductory guide to recordkeeping at the RCDSO.

Overview of the RCDSO Registration Process for Dentists

We often assist applicants at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) who encounter registration issues while seeking a license to practice dentistry in Ontario. These applicants may be recent dental graduates, international applicants, foreign-trained dentists, and dentists licensed in other provinces.  

What Dentists Need to Know About Discipline Hearings at the RCDSO

Following the formal investigation of a complaint to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) will decide how to address a dentist’s conduct and may make a referral to the Discipline Committee. This can intensify what is likely an already stressful situation for a dentist. What follows is a brief guide to discipline hearings. 

Regulation of Dental Advertising

The primary role of dentists is to deliver dental care to their patients. Dentists often also find themselves operating businesses and seeking to attract patients to their offices. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) permits dentists to advertise their services but regulates these advertisements. Dentists may be subject to complaints and professional consequences for violating the regulations. What follows is our brief overview of the regulation of dental advertising. 

Dental Associate Agreements

An associate agreement is a legal contract that governs the arrangement between the dentist or corporation that owns the dental clinic (the Owner) and the dentist hired to work at the dental practice (the Associate). 

Privacy Issues for Dentists

Dentists may become subject to complaints involving privacy and confidentiality issues. Such complaints can be made to our dental regulatory authority and/or the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC). As health-information custodians under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), dentists are responsible for ensuring that the personal health information of their patients is maintained in a private and secure manner, while also ensuring that this information is available for the effective delivery of health care.

Teledentistry during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many dental clinics have closed their physical offices in the effort to contain the spread of novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”) has identified that dentists may continue to provide select services virtually, using technology to conduct appointments at a distance.

Considerations when operating a Dental Office during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Public health interests have transformed in the time of novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic. While proactive and preventive dentistry were previously seen as important forms of healthcare that supported individual and social health goals, these kind of services have been deemed non-essential during Ontario’s state of emergency.

Communicating and Documenting Dental Fees

When there is a disagreement or misunderstanding regarding dental fees, dentists may become subject to complaints from their patients. This may result in negative regulatory consequences; thus, it is prudent for dentists to always strive for clarity and accuracy in their discussions with patients about the costs involved with any treatment.

Top 10 Legal Tips For Obtaining Consent In Dentistry

Regardless of the quality of the dental work and the outcome of the procedure, dentists may become subject to formal College complaints if they fail to obtain informed consent. Based on our extensive experience providing legal advice to dentists and representing them in regulatory proceedings, we have prepared the below list of 10 legal tips for obtaining consent in dentistry.

10 Legal Tips for New Dentists at the RCDSO

Implementing best practices as early as possible is often a prudent way for dentists to protect themselves. Based on our extensive experience providing legal advice to dentists and representing them in regulatory proceedings, we have prepared the below list on 10 important tips for new dentists at the RCDSO.

Ownership of Dental Records

In our legal firm, we often assist dentists who have questions regarding the ownership of patients’ dental records. While the first priority in the dental profession is to deliver care to patients, dentists often find themselves operating businesses. In the context of a business, conflicts may develop over the ownership of patient charts and patient information, and the right to continue treating patients. 

Good Character and the Dalhousie Dentistry Students

Over the past two months, the dental world and Canadians at large have been following events at the University of Dalhousie, where a group of dentistry students used a private Facebook group to post offensive and demeaning comments about their classmates.

Criminal Charges Alleging Breach of Trust by a Dentist

Dentists provide highly specialized services that are difficult, if not impossible, for the average person to appraise. The extensive training and education required to become a dentist, in conjunction with the ethical guiding principles and regulatory oversight of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”), provide dentists with a position of trust in society upon which both the profession and the public rely.

How Criminal Charges Can Impact Dentists

Upon becoming subject to a criminal charge, an accused person will likely first think of the impending court proceedings and the potential impact that this could have on their liberty. Dentists in this position will also need to consider the affect that the criminal process will have on them before the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”).

Reporting Criminal Matters to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

As of May 1, 2018, dentists have the obligation to self-report criminal charges to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”). These obligations exist regardless of whether a charge has any connection to a dentist’s practice. Following the resolution of criminal charges, dentists may be subject to regulatory proceedings, which may carry professional consequences.

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