May 28, 2014 — Two orthodontists have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Arkansas State Dental Board of Examiners, seeking “declaratory and injunctive relief” and trying to change Arkansas’ Dental Practice Act, which prevents dental specialists from providing teeth-cleaning services. They claim that the board’s actions violate their 14th Amendment rights.
The lawsuit was filed on May 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas by Benjamin Burris, DDS, MDS, of Fort Smith, and Elizabeth Gohl, DDS, of Fayetteville and an employee of Dr. Burris, against Donna Cobb, the executive director of the dental board, and other members of the board.
In Arkansas, dental specialists may not practice outside of their area of specialization, even to offer basic services such as teeth cleanings, except in emergencies, the complaint notes. Specialists who practice outside of their specialty may have their license revoked or suspended, according to the Dental Practice Act.