Course Description:

Standard of Care investigations involves state boards, courts, and the legal system. Dentists are tasked with delivering a reasonable standard of care to all patients. When allegations are raised disputing a dentist’s care, investigators will conduct an examination and weigh the evidence in the pursuit of justice.

Presented by John Dovgan, DDS, a veteran Standard of Care Investigator (SCI), State Board consultant, and expert witness, this course will benefit practicing dentists, members of a state dental board, current and future dental consultants to state boards, and permit examiners.

  • 8 CE Hours
  • 24 Online Modules
  • Recommended by Dental Boards for Remediation


This 8-hour course has been approved for remediation by the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners and New Jersey State Board of Dentistry for risk management: 4 hours risk management, plus 4 hours regular CE. Meets the requirements for use as remediation by all State Boards.


Course Synopsis

Module 1: Forensic Dentistry and the Standard of Care

Proposed treatment plans often differ among dentists. However, problems arise whenever a treatment plan falls outside of the standard of care. In this module, Dr. Dovgan defines standard of care and explores its relationship to treatment planning.

Module 2: Landmark Cases that Created the Standard of Care

The standard of care principle for dentists has surprising origins, and originally had to do with dentistry! Still, it’s essential that dentists understand their obligations under standard of care. Dr. Dovgan highlights what you need to know, based on two landmark cases.

Module 3: Local Anesthetic Maximums and Half Lives

Dentists must be exceedingly cautious when administering drugs to patients. Adverse outcomes risk both the patient’s health and the dentist’s livelihood. Dr. Dovgan provides formulas for determining the correct amount of anesthetic to use on patients.

Module 4: Adverse Outcomes and How to Prevent Them

The standard of care principle gives dentists considerable latitude when treating patients. Board investigations triggered by patient injuries or deaths probe largely gray areas to reach a conclusion. Learn how to recognize the factors that may lead to serious patient harm.

Module 5: Common Errors in Everyday Practice

Dentists inevitably make mistakes. Most are minor and correctable. A few, though, carry severe consequences. In this module, Dr. Dovgan lists the red flags that push state dental boards to administer discipline.

Module 6: Top 11 Mistakes When Administering Sedation

Mistakes can sometimes happen when administering oral sedation. Often, it’s because the guidelines for minimum sedation are misunderstood. In this module, Dr. Dovgan reveals the eleven most common mistakes he sees dentists making.

Module 7: Top 10 Mistakes for a Sedation Permit Evaluation

On-site inspections for new (and renewing) sedation permits are thorough and rigorous, and it’s not always possible to anticipate an inspector’s expectations. Dr. Dovgan lists the most common, preventable mistakes he sees as an inspector.

Module 8: Standard of Care Lines You Should Never Cross

Practicing dentistry carries the risk that a patient will not respond as planned to treatment. When that happens, dental boards consider the pain and suffering of the patient when deliberating punitive action. Learn how to minimize adverse patient outcomes by applying the standard of care.

Module 9: Understanding Important Legal Terms

The regulations that govern the dental profession can be frustrating and perplexing. Nonetheless, they should always be taken seriously. In this module, Dr. Dovgan provides a crash-course in terminology that wasn’t taught in dental school.

Module 10: State Dental Boards vs Malpractice Case

Dental board cases are fundamentally different than malpractice cases. Still, because of the outsized media attention some malpractice cases attract, even dentists can blur the distinctions. Dr. Dovgan will define the elements of both.

Module 11: Important Considerations for Malpractice

Medical malpractice charges are a realistic threat to practicing dentists. Should you find yourself the subject of a complaint, it’s crucial that you understand how the investigation process works. Dr. Dovgan provides a behind-the-scenes look at his work as a consultant and witness in medical malpractice cases.

Module 12: State Dental Board Complaint Process

Receiving a complaint notice from the state dental board can feel like an ambush for any dentist. Dr. Dovgan uses this module to walk you through the formal complaint process; you’ll be less intimidated and better prepared.

Module 13: What Type of Dentists get into Trouble

Dentists who become the subject of board complaints and malpractice claims often share commonalities. These include personality traits, levels of education, and work habits. In this module, Dr. Dovgan explains how to stay out of legal trouble.

Module 14: When to Say “Yes” to Premedication

The guidelines for administering premedication are nuanced and subjective. And yet there are certain patient characteristics that make premedication decisions easier. Dr. Dovgan looks at those factors and offers suggestions for successful premedication treatment.

Module 15: The Standard of Care for Implant Placement and Oral Surgery

Dentists who provide advanced services face often intense scrutiny when patients file board complaints. In this module, Dr. Dovgan provides the full criteria for staying within the standard of care guidelines for implants and oral surgery.

Module 16: When to Take X-Rays on Pregnant Patients

Treating pregnant patients requires that you meet the standard of care. For some dentists, that precludes x-rays. But is that always necessary… or wise? Dr. Dovgan examines the issue in response to a complex and controversial case.

Module 17: When to Refer, Extract, or Do Treatment on RCT teeth

Root canal therapy can preserve a tooth or implant for life. But when done incorrectly, or without full treatment compliance by the patient, severe problems can develop. Dr. Dovgan evaluates options for treating RCT teeth while conforming to the standard of care.

Module 18: The New ADA Guidelines and Why They Were Initiated

Tracking morbidity and mortality cases associated with sedation has always been arduous. Why? State boards and insurance companies. Discover how a research abstract led the ADA to rethink training and issue new guidelines.

Module 19: Lateral Pharyngeal Space Infection and Nasal Cancer

Dentists are often the first ones to see patients with potentially deadly conditions, including trismus. The standard of care requires that dentists identify and treat accordingly. Learn how the standard of care changes in response to progressively worsening conditions.

Module 20: Standard of Care Guidelines for Endodontics, Periodontics, and Orthodontics

Lengthy dental work can stress patients, especially those with compromised health. It’s why endodontics, periodontics, and orthodontics must know the standard of care requirements. Learn how to reassure patients before surgery while increasing their satisfaction afterward

Module 21: Standard of Care Guidelines for Pediatrics and Crown and Bridge as well as Red Flags

For providers of advanced dentistry, including pediatrics, encountering unusual patient problems is quite normal. In this module, Dr. Dovgan applies the standard of care to a pediatric case, a cracked tooth, and a full-mouth reconstruction.

Module 22: Vertical Dimension of Occlusion—Too Much or Too Little

A patient’s vertical dimension of occlusion (VDO) determines their options for treatment. Both excessive and deficient occlusion make restorative dentistry more challenging. Dr. Dovgan shows how to meet the standard of care independent of the patient’s VDO.

Module 23: Bone Grafting and What Not to Do When Placing Implants

When should a general dentist perform oral surgery? When should he or she defer to a specialist? Because of the potential for harm, dentists face greater liability. Dr. Dovgan offers pointers for staying within the standard of care during bone grafts and implant placements.

Module 24: Sepsis—How to Avoid It

Dental work, light or invasive, can trigger infections, which can lead to sepsis in a vulnerable patient. As such, dentists are expected to recognize its symptoms. Dr. Dovgan discusses how to mitigate the risk of sepsis through patient profiling and follow-up.

Buy the full-course or any of the mini-courses today and you’ll have access to them for one year.

Purchase of this course grants access for one year and requires an internet connection, computer with video and audio capabilities, and in some cases, Adobe Reader to view handouts and articles. 

You can download this course and watch it anywhere using the DOCS APP. Get it on Google Play or the Apple Store.

Watch the video and complete the quiz to earn 8 CE credits.

Scientific support and additional resources are available here. 


 Upon completion of a competency course in enteral sedation, the dentist must be able to:   

  • Standard of care and its relationship to treatment planning. 

  • Obligations under standard of care. 

  • Formulas for determining the correct amount of anesthetic to use on patients. 

  • Factors that may lead to serious patient harm, and how to avoid them. 

  • The eleven most common mistakes dentists make when administering sedation. 

  • How to minimize adverse patient outcomes by applying the standard of care. 

  • Legal terminology not taught in dental school. 

  • How dental board cases are different than malpractice cases. 

  • How the malpractice investigation process works. 

  • The state board complaint process. 

  • How to stay out of legal trouble. 

  • Guidelines for premedication. 

  • How to stay within the standard of care guidelines for implants and oral surgery. 

  • When to take X-rays on pregnant patients. 

  • Options for treating RCT teeth conforming to standard of care. 

  • How a research abstract led the ADA to rethink training and issue new guidelines. 

  • How the standard of care changes in response to progressively worsening conditions. 

  • How to reassure patients before surgery while increasing their satisfaction afterward. 

  • Standard of care guidelines for pediatrics and crown and bridge, as well as red flags. 

  • How to meet the standard of care independent of the patient’s VDO. 

  • Pointers for staying within the standard of care during bone grafts and implant placements. 

  • How to mitigate the risk of sepsis through patient profiling and follow-up. 


Scientific support and additional resources are available here. 

(AGD Code - Definition - Hours)

010 Basic Sciences (Immunology) - 1.5 hours 

145 Forensic dentistry - 3 hours 

153 Psychosocial anxiety & fear in dentistry - 1 hour

690 Implants (Diagnosis and treatment planning for dental implants) - 1.5 hours 

430 Pediatric Dentistry – 1 hour 

Total hours:  8 hours  

Original release date: 1/30/2019

DOCS online courses are available to the purchaser for one year from date of purchase.
No refund of course tuition is available.



Dr. John Dovgan
Dr. John Dovgan

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