Can an orthodontist clean teeth in Arkansas? No. He or she cannot under the strange rules of Arkansas law and the dental regulatory board.

A Fayetteville orthodontist, Ben Burris, fully trained to clean teeth, sued over the restriction that says dental specialists are restricted to practicing their specialty. He was providing low-cost teeth cleaning at multiple locations, regulators threatened to take away his license.

Federal Judge Brian Miller dismissed the suit. The ruling was appealed. Yesterday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals breathed life into the case. It said Miller was wrong on the reason he cited for dismissal — that there was an unclear area of state law for state courts to decide first. The 8th Circuit said it was clear the statute applied to Burris.

Miller gets the case back  to consider other points made by the state for dismissal.

From the Arkansas News Bureau report on the 8th Circuit decision:

“There was never any question that this law applies to Dr. Burris,” Matt Miller, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which is representing Burris, said in a statement Friday. “That is why the Dental Board threatened to revoke his license for daring to make teeth cleanings available to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them. We are very pleased that Dr. Burris’ constitutional claims will now be heard.”