Ben Burris Plans To Challenge Arkansas Dental Practice Act

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

Dr. Ben Burris has agreed not to offer dental cleanings to the public. (Photo by Ashley George)

“This was an attempt to resolve this and put this issue to bed before it came to anything more,” O’Dwyer said. “And Dr. Burris was agreeable to entering into some sort of consent order and this is what we came up with.”

O’Dwyer said the order said that Burris will practice within his specialty and that he’ll provide dental hygienist services only to his existing orthodontics patients.

Billy Tarpley, the executive director of the Arkansas State Dental Association, said Burris’ signing the consent order was good news, but his tone changed after a reporter told him that Burris was planning to challenge the law.

“If that comes to pass, we’ll take a look at it and assess it at that time,” Tarpley said. “At this point, I’m just happy to hear that there’s been some kind of agreement.”

Going Before the Board

Burris was hauled in front of the dental board in September after dentists in northeast Arkansas complained that he was offering dental cleanings to the general public in his Braces by Burris orthodontics clinics.

The price was $98 for an adult and $68 for a child, which Burris has said was about half of what dentists in northeast Arkansas typically charge.

Burris said he offered the service because it was good for his business and good for the public.

“I’ve been an advocate for access to care for a long, long time,” Burris said.

In 2008, Burris founded the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation to help children who can’t afford orthodontic care. Since then, more than $20 million worth of care has been awarded.

Burris said he’s already seen the backlash from dentists in northeast Arkansas for offering lower prices for cleanings.

“They’re disgusted with me,” he said.

 

 

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