Orthodontist Ben Burris Braces for Fight With Dental Board

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 12:00 am  

Ben Burris

Burris said he pays his hygienists half of what he collects for the cleaning, and he’s still able to make a profit on the service. Burris said standard practice in the industry is to pay the hygienists a flat fee of $200 to $300 a day.

Dentists “want to keep the fees high” because they make “a tremendous amount of money off the backs of hygienists,” Burris said. “I’m going to get crucified for saying all this stuff, but I don’t care.”

Still, Burris said that if a cavity is detected, he will refer the patient to a dentist for a filling.

“I’m not trying to destroy the other businesses,” he said. “I’m not saying I won’t. [But] I’m not planning on it at this point.”

Burris said that if the board “tries to do something” based on the claim that he’s practicing outside his specialty, he’s ready to file a lawsuit to challenge the action.

“I’m not going to stipulate that I crossed the law,” Burris said. “I’m not going to say that I’m operating outside my specialty.”

Billy Tarpley , the executive director of the Arkansas State Dental Association said he didn’t know all the details of the allegations involving Burris.

“We support the Dental Practice Act,” he said. “Whatever the Dental Practice Act says that dentists can do, then they should be able to do that.”

Donna Cobb, executive director of the board, referred questions to O’Dwyer.

O’Dwyer declined to comment on Burris’ comments.

O’Dwyer said he didn’t know what the possible outcomes of the Sept. 13 meeting could be.

“The board at this point is really just looking to get some answers to some questions that it had,” O’Dwyer said. “That’s it.”

Sept. 13 Update: Burris appears before the state dental board and says he's providing access to care.



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