Alexis Hosticka of Arkansas Business reports that Dr. Ben Burris, a Fayetteville orthodontist, has given up his 18-month legal battle to be able to clean teeth in his practice.

Somewhat unbelievably, a trained orthodontist is not allowed to engage in work outside the specialty, though trained for other work, by rules of Arkansas practice. Burris will give up orthodontics and expand a general dentistry practice.


“In essence, nothing changes,” Burris said. “I’m still the same guy, with the same qualifications, that I was yesterday. But Arkansas has forced me to make a ridiculous choice about what to call myself. I have chosen to put the needs of Arkansans above my own right to call myself what I am—a trained orthodontist.”

Burris owns Braces by Burris, a chain of 20 orthodontic practices throughout Arkansas. He has wanted to provide a teeth-cleaning service to patients, but can’t because doing so would violate the Arkansas Dental Practice Act. 

Burris had sued in federal court and, thanks to an appeals court, his suit remained active. But his attorney said he decided “he simply could not wait any longer to continue his mission of making sure that everyone can afford basic dental care.”