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Dentist Loses License for Abusing Laughing Gas


Using laughing gas on the job is no laughing matter, as one dentist can attest. The dentist from Tennessee recently lost his license for using nitrous oxide—more commonly known as laughing gas—in his office while working on patients.

The dentist’s staff witnessed him using laughing gas on at least three occasions. He was aware of his use and even asked staff members to lie about it when asked. The staff actually reported him after they witnessed him acting erratic and impaired. His addiction to laughing gas was so out of control that he would lock himself in his office during business hours. He was unable to perform dental work on patients, so they had to be sent home and have their appointments rescheduled.

The 46-year-old dentist had been licensed to practice dentistry since 1997. It is believed that the clinic has since shut down since a representative for the practice, Tennessee Endodontics, alleged that the clinic has seen any patients since May.

The dentist’s license has been suspended indefinitely. He signed the order and has not contested the allegations of laughing gas abuse.

According to the state board, the dentist can restore his license by meeting several conditions. First, he must seek addiction treatment. Once he has completed treatment, he will need to be evaluated by a wellness committee from the Tennessee Dental Association. If his license is restored, he would still need to be on probation for a period of five years.

The dentist admitted himself to an addiction center in Chicago in May. He had a complaint filed against his license in 2016 for failing to take continuing education hours for anesthesia use, which ironically includes laughing gas.

Side Effects of Laughing Gas

Laughing gas is approved for use in the dentistry field as a form of sedation. While it works well to calm down nervous children—and adults—it does come with some side effects. It can cause nausea, shivering, sweating fatigue and dizziness. Some patients even hallucinate or experience allergic reactions, such as wheezing, fever and difficulty breathing.

While these are risks that patients take, these are symptoms you, as a patient, would not want your dentist exhibiting while you are having dental work done. That is why dentists and other medical professionals should not be under the influence of any type of medications and other substances while treating patients. This creates an unsafe environment that can cause injury.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Dentistry License Lawyer

Dentists must provide a safe environment for patients. If a dentist abuses laughing gas or other substances while on the job, they can face serious penalties.

If you dentistry license is at risk, it’s important to seek help right away. Your license is your livelihood, so don’t handle this type of case on your own. The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help you with your case. David P. Rankin has spent 30 years helping Florida dentists and other licensed professionals deal with administrative issues and hold onto their licenses. Schedule a consultation by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.