© Gary Inglese

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Dental Defense - Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations Defense - Dental-Legal Issues - Dental Risk Management - Dental Contracts and Business Issues - Dental Office Transitions

The discipline to a license may be either an Administrative Warning Letter (AWL), reprimand, probation, suspension or revocation.

With the exception of the AWL, all disciplines are reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank. These data banks will then release information to entities that have a “need to know,” such as healthcare facilities, hospitals, third-party payers and credentialing and licensing authorities. Information placed in these Data Banks remains forever.

The discipline becomes a matter of public record and is listed on the web site of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, available to anyone with Internet access. It will also be published in the Department ’ s monthly press releases and is picked-up by many local publications and the Illinois Dental News.

In many instances, the agreements, bylaws and contracts dentists have with healthcare facilities that grant them privileges, require the practitioner to immediately report any discipline or change in their professional licensure status. A history of discipline may inhibit the dentist being granted privileges at new institution. The same can hold true for faculty appointments as well. Provider agreements with HMOs, PPOs and third-party payers frequently require the immediate reporting of any discipline of the professional license, which can potentially result in termination of the agreement. When no action is immediately taken, when a re-credential query the Data Bank or IDFPR, the discipline is then disclosed and termination again is possible. The same can take place when the dentist renews or enters into a new provider agreement. Discipline of the license can also be used as grounds for debarment or keeping a dentist from participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs and similar programs.

Licensees are required by the terms of their Professional liability insurance carriers to advise when their license has been disciplined. When renewing, the dentist is asked if any professional license has been disciplined. The discipline can cause increased premiums or even cancellation or non-renewal of a policy. Discipline of the dental license can also result in the discipline of the state issued controlled substance license, which could lead to the loss or discipline of the federal DEA registration. Discipline of the state license could also effect the credentialing that is required of military dental personnel.

If the dentist is licensed in another state, they are usually required to report any “sister state” discipline to states where they hold licenses. Discipline of a license in one state will often result in similar or more severe discipline in another state.

The possibilities are endless. What I have listed above is not all-inclusive and new scenarios continually evolve. Before accepting any offer of discipline, the dentist should consult with their attorney and consider the potential effects of discipline on their future practice.


When a dentist’s license is disciplined, a number of far reaching consequences are possible. These consequences are generally not discussed at a settlement conference with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Department attorney may not even be aware of the potential issues. When the dentist becomes the subject of a disciplinary proceeding, whether informal, such as a Disciplinary Conference, or a Formal Evidentiary Hearing, they need to seriously consider the consequences of any discipline attached to their professional license.

Consequences of discipline on your dental license