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Impostor Dentist Raises Important Questions


A shocking case out of Georgia has raised some important questions about what patients should be looking for in a dentist. It all started when a Georgia woman was charged in two counties for practicing dentistry without a license.

The woman allegedly ran an unlicensed dental practice for seven years before she was finally shut down. One patient even landed in the hospital with an infection after having two teeth removed! This past August, the woman was indicted on one count of forgery, three counts of writing unlawful prescriptions, three counts of insurance fraud and 40 counts of practicing dentistry without a license.

So, what’s to prevent this situation from happening again? How can you safeguard yourself from fraudulent or unlicensed practitioners? What should you be looking for when selecting a dentist or doctor? Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your family.


Online reviews are a great way to tell if the dentist or doctor you are considering has a good reputation in their community. After all, if something is amiss, there could be some red flags in their reviews. But unfortunately, reviews can be skewed or contain inaccurate information, both negative and positive, which doesn’t make them the most accurate way to tell if a practitioner is legitimate. When searching for a doctor or dentist, think of reviews as your last line of defense, not your first.

Licensing Boards

Every state in America has a licensing board for dentists that can be easily accessed on the American Dental Association website or by doing a simple Google search for your state. There you can search for your dentist either by name or by license number. You can verify the license number by either calling the dentist’s office and asking the administrative staff at the front desk to provide the number or, if you are at the dentist or doctor’s office, look for a copy of the license itself, which should be posted somewhere patients can see it.

Board Certification or Accreditation

Board certification or accreditation is not the same as licensing, but it is almost as important. Board certification means your dentist isn’t just licensed, but that your dentist participates in additional training and testing each year beyond the requirement for state licensing. The ADA has a list of specialty boards that your dentist may be a part of. You can ask your dentist’s administrative staff for a list of boards they are members of and check their certification at each board’s website.

If you have any questions about your oral health or about licensing or board certification, please give Dr. Simpson’s office a call at 910-550-3959.

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