If a Tree Falls in the Forest and No One is There, Does it Make a Sound?

By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? I don’t know, but if a person gets hurt in the thicket of unlicensed practice of dentistry, is someone going to get in trouble? In Florida, you bet. But, is it a misdemeanor (fines and county jail) or a felony (state prison) if convicted?

It used to be a misdemeanor back when my license to practice law used to be new; but nowadays, it is a felony — the most serious category of crime. Felonies include murder, rape, what that Madoff dude did and unlicensed practice of dentistry. So, what should you do if, as a licensed dentist, you see someone selling grillz in a flea market?

Let me be clear — that is unlicensed practice of dentistry. Obviously, most FDA members are not doing grillz as a large part of their practice because they’re too busy losing money treating Medicaid kids or they have something called ethics. So, most dentists don’t think grillz are “dentistry.” But from the perspective of law enforcement, it’s dentistry, just without a license. So, if you see it, report it!

Call 877.HALT.ULA (877.425.8852) as soon as possible before the criminal hightails it from the flea market to a back room in some sleazy bar next door to the unlicensed tattooist and illegal bookmaker. Not that we would know anything about that.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a specific concern or need legal advice regarding your dental practice, you should contact a qualified attorney.

Henry Maurice Goldman: Dental Educator and Pioneer

By Dr. Robert Goldman

Dr. Henry Maurice Goldman’s dream to advance dentistry beyond a trade into a biological science materialized because of his foresight and unremitting hard work. His sacrifice was only overshadowed by his dedication and irrefutable energy. As Dr. Goldman’s nephew, my insights were developed as one of his students. I followed in his footsteps and trained as an oral pathologist and periodontist. I spent many years training and practicing in these fields, but I was extremely fortunate to reap the benefit of his tutelage. I rendered as objective a story as was possible in “Henry Maurice Goldman: Dental Educator and Pioneer” because I wanted to channel his thinking in a manner that would characterize his stream of consciousness. This book is the result of all the thoughts and decisions he possessed to make the dental profession more than it was and to leave it as self-perpetuating with the future advances that would come from the research and teaching programs he initiated. The continuing education and formal training programs today are the end result of so many of the practitioners whose educational development sprung from this source.

Dr. Henry Maurice Goldman’s story is worth the time for all dentists to read — he was the man who brought dentistry into the modern era. The dental profession’s foundation had already been set long before he was born. However, like Arnold Palmer in golf, Albert Einstein in physics and Nicola Tesla in electricity and technology, Dr. Goldman coordinated all of the existing intelligence in the dental profession before World War II and gave it relevance. He served as the dental chief of the Armed Services Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. as an Army captain in the war. During this time, he realized that periodontal health was the foundation to optimal dental health in general. He linked dental and systems medicine, and embodied their mutual dependence in laying the grassroots of specialty education.

In the early 1950s, the dean at the University of Pennsylvania asked him to start a graduate periodontal training program, which gradually became one of the premier programs in periodontal prosthesis. In 1958, Dr. Goldman returned to his hometown, Boston, where he started the Department of Stomatology at Boston University. His mindset, however, was concentrated on something that would spring the dental profession into a much more coordinated relationship with all the dental specialties. Thus, after much effort and dedication, he built the first and only dental school for graduate specialty education. In 1963, the Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry opened up with Dr. Goldman serving as its first dean. But, make no mistake — he was the brains and brawn behind its birth and development. As a researcher and practitioner, his own pilot efforts in oral biology, oral medicine, oral pathology and periodontology fields enabled all the then-existing ADA-recognized specialties to come together under one roof for advanced training with its underpinnings based in the biological sciences. The integrative approach to specialty training matured under his leadership, and gradually through his worldwide reputation, dentists came from around the world to train at Boston University. This resulted in a tree of well-trained specialists in all dental fields who in turn initiated their own programs throughout the United States and countries far and wide. Thus, Dr. Goldman took what were mostly apprenticeships and small university training programs, and significantly expanded them under one roof so there was a steady rise in the number of dentists with enhanced training returning to their homes all over the world. The result is that dentists today pretty much owe their education to this growing wave of educators that blossomed from Boston University. Today, the school is now eponymously named for him as the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University.

Dentists and lay people alike can appreciate the coordinated efforts that went into the development and maturation process of dental education with its unique twists and turns as it grew into the monolith that it is today. Reading this book, you can see its origins as Dr. Goldman’s ambitions became solidly defined and palpable as Boston University grew and influenced so many countries around the world. Teachers today somehow are linked directly or indirectly to the medical center he grew in prestige and reputation. Reading this book would be beneficial for all dentists and lay people who would like to understand the educational origin of their dentists.

Please go to http://robertallyngoldman.com/ for more information on the book.

Thank you.


Dental Patients with Special Needs

FDA President Dr. Ralph Attanasi and Today’s FDA have partnered to bring you a special video to correspond with his column, “@ralph,” in each issue. The Sept/Oct issue focuses on special needs, and in the video below, Dr. Attanasi provides tips for preparing and caring for dental patients with special needs. We encourage our members to share your experiences with us by sending your story to communications@floridadental.org for potential future posts to Beyond the Bite.

The Special Needs Dental Patient from Florida Dental Association on Vimeo.

Licenses, Licenses and More Licenses

By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)

I have a valid dental license in the state of Florida — that’s all I need to practice here, right? Wrong. As just one example: you’ll also need an occupational license — maybe even more than one! Occupational licenses are required by county ordinance and city regulations, not state law. Any business operating within city limits may have to get a county license as well as a city license.

Not feeling the love? It gets worse, ‘cause you’ll also need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) — kind of like a social security number, but for a corporation instead of a natural person — and a National Provider Identification number (NPI).

You see, all four levels of government want to regulate you to protect the public from unsavory characters. Unfortunately, the only way government can keep these nasty people off the streets is to charge each licensee an annual fee for the privilege of practicing your chosen profession and feeding your family.

So, don’t forget: Get all your licenses and keep all branches of government well-funded.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a specific concern or need legal advice regarding your dental practice, you should contact a qualified attorney.