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.

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.

5 Things Every Florida Dentist Should Know About Records


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

1. Records are evidence (exculpatory or damaging).

2. They must be kept a minimum of four years post-treatment, but preferably at least seven years (statute of repose for medical malpractice).

3. They should contain an entry every time an examination, treatment or dispensing of drugs occurs.

4. They document the doctor who is primarily responsible for all dental treatment regardless of who actually did it.

5. If you get in trouble with the Florida Board of Dentistry, a count for “failure to keep adequate records” will be alleged.


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.