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Court ordered to consider whether specialists can deliver general services

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed a U.S. District Judge’s decision to dismiss an orthodontist’s claim that a dental specialist can provide general dental services (Benjamin Burris, Elizabeth Gohl v. Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners). The December 11 ruling by the Court of Appeals sends the case back to a lower court to be decided on the merits.

The orthodontist, Ben Burris of Fayetteville, began offering teeth cleanings for $99 for adults and $69 for children, which are significantly lower prices than what other dentists charge for the same service.

Shortly after Burris began offering the cleaning services, the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners contacted Burris, informing him that by offering and performing the cleaning services, he was breaking the law and if he did not stop, his license would be subject to revocation.

Arkansas law prohibits orthodontists and other licensed dental specialists from performing any services outside their specialization, despite the fact they are classified as licensed dentists and have the same training as dentists.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller dismissed the case in November of 2014, but the 8th Circuit reversed Miller’s ruling.


Read the Court of Appeals reversal here.