State Board of Dentistry Report July 20, 2018 – Meeting Summary

Roll was called, and a quorum was achieved. Two new members were introduced. The hygienist role on the board was filled by Donna L. Schoenecker, a public health dental hygiene practitioner with 40 years of practice experience. Amber Sizemore is the new representative from the Office of the Attorney General. Rebecca Zehring and MariEllen Brickley-Raab were thanked for their service, including a verbatim proclamation read for Ms. Brickley-Raab.

The minutes from the May 2018 meeting were approved with amendments. Dr. Seid clarified one of her statements, Dr. Unis Sullivan corrected her husband’s specialty, and Dr. Erhard changed a reference of exclusivity to one of the regional board exams.


  • Two referrals were made to the recovery program, including a dentist with alcoholism who was treated, and a dentist with alcoholism and cocaine addiction who was admitted for treatment.
  • The first prosecuted case was a dentist charged with failure to turn over patient records within the required 30 days. The dentist was waiting until patient charges for duplication were paid, which is not
    a valid reason to withhold records under the law. The dentist was also charged with failure to file for a fictitious name and was advertising under a different “Americanized” name. The dentist was assessed a $5,000 civil penalty and prosecutorial costs, will not withhold records, and will legally change his name.
  • The next case involved an orthodontist who had been treating a patient for five years. Only one radiograph was taken during that treatment period. In the fourth year, the patient was referred to an oral surgeon, who diagnosed root resorption, but did not properly document or communicate his findings to the orthodontist. As a result, the patient suffered significant tooth loss. The SBOD was referred this case due to a civil suit. The oral surgeon was assessed a $1,875 civil penalty, which is one-quarter of what the orthodontist received from a previous prosecution.
  • The next case involved a dentist administering anesthesia under an expired unrestricted permit. The SBOD found the penalty too lenient, and the prosecution assessed a $10,000 civil penalty.
    The next case involved a dentist who disclosed a disorderly conduct conviction on his or her renewal. The dentist received a 30-day suspension. When asked why no civil penalty was assessed, the prosecutor noted that a practice suspension acted as its own civil penalty.
  • The next case involved an EFDA career training program that was offering x-rays and coronal polishing without a practitioner license. The program leads were prohibited from applying for a license for an indefinite period.
  • The next case involved a practitioner who failed submit for a urine screening required from a previous prosecution. As a result, his or her suspension will continue indefinitely.

Chair Report

  • Dr. Erhard noted that some of the committee assignments would change due to new board members. Several board members participated in the Mom-n-PA charitable dentistry event in Reading in May. Ms. Hart Hughes noted that it was a wonderful experience. Dr. Erhard encouraged greater commitment from SBOD member for the 2019 event, which will be held in Wilkes-Barre.

Commissioner Report

  • Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) Commissioner Ian Harlow was not present, but his proxy submitted a report. The executive order from the governor requiring BPOA to review licensure procedures was nearing the finalization of its report. The report will recommend changing some licensure programs to certification (none involving dentistry) and repealing some drug and criminal history requirements.

Committee Reports

  • The licensure committee had some questions about communicating potential changes on the number of continuing education hours required for relicensure. They would like to hold a public meeting. Board counsel noted that the committee could have
    a private meeting to set the agenda, but all discussion must be public.
  • Dr. Unis Sullivan inquired into the progress of the draft proposed regulations regarding expanded independent practice sites for public health dental hygiene practitioners. Board counsel did not report any progress, the draft proposed regulations are still being considered by the Governor’s Policy Office.

Regional Clinical Examinations

  • Dr. Erhard recommended a clearer policy on regional licensing exams, in particular the Western Region Examining Board (WREB). The WREB has fallen into disfavor with the SBOD due to its policy that an examinant can fail one portion of the exam but still pass overall, and there was no required waiting period for retaking a failed test. A suggestion was made to limit the list of accepted exams to the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX), regardless of the agency that administers it.
  • Dr. Datillo moved to only accept the ADEX exam beginning Aug. 1. Board counsel noted that doing so would require a regulatory change, which would in turn require a complicated process that could not be achieved in short order. The motion was amended to begin the regulatory process to only accept the ADEX, with no date recommended. The motion was accepted unanimously.

Election of Officer

  • Ms. Hart Hughes was nominated and elected as secretary of the board.