Disciplinary Action against Wesley Shankland, D.D.S.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
March 25, 2007

In August 2006, Wesley Earl Shankland, II, D.D.S., who operates the Central Ohio Center for Facial Pain in Columbus, Ohio, was notified that the Ohio State Dental Board was considering whether to discipline or suspend his license [1]. The official notice expressed concern about his care of twelve patients. The document charged that he had:

  • Performed surgery without adequate preoperative diagnostic testing
  • Removed teeth without proper diagnosis supporting such extraction
  • Performed excessive and/or unnecessary operations
  • Caused injuries that were responsible for loss of teeth
  • Failed to do proper testing for infectious organisms
  • Prescribed excessive amounts of narcotic and sedative drugs

In March 2007, Shankland settled the charges with a consent agreement [2] under which:

  • His dental license will be suspended for six months.
  • He must complete 300 hours of continuing dental education that includes at least 40 hours in ethics and 260 hours that must include medical history-taking; dental record-keeping; periodontics; diagnosis and treatment planning; and pharmacology.
  • He must not utilize any “alternative” dental or medical treatment without informing the patient that the procedure is nonstandard.
  • During 2008, he must not prescribe any opioid narcotics or other central nervous system (CNS)-acting drugs.
  • His records must be available for review and monitoring by a physician or dentist who is experienced in the management of chronic pain.

Shankland is a leading proponent of “neuralgia inducing cavitational osteonecrosis” (“NICO”) and improperly advises that amalgam fillings and root-canal-treated teeth are problematic. The board’s complaint did not indicate whether any of its concerns were related to these nonstandard theories and practices. Nor is it clear whether the consent agreement’s provision about “alternative” practices will make it more difficult to continue utilizing them.

Shankland publicly represents himself as having earned a masters degree in human anatomy from Ohio State University in 1994 and Ph.D. in human anatomy in 1997. His Web site and various other publications do not indicate where he obtained the “Ph.D.” However, a curriculum vitae [3] filed in a recent court case identifies the source as “Summit University of Louisiana.” This entity, a correspondence school that operated from about 1993 through 2000, was never accredited, had no legal or academic standing, and certainly did not require the amount of knowledge and effort that reputable universities require for doctoral degrees.
A 1999 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education described Summit as a “diploma mill” located in a “converted bedroom” in a small house on the outskirts of New Orleans [4].

  1. Notice of opportunity for hearing. In re: The suitability of Wesley E. Shankland, D.D.S. to retain his license to practice dentistry. Ohio State Dental Board, Aug 24, 2006.
  2. Consent agreement between Wesley E. Shankland, DDS and Ohio State Dental Board, March 2007.
  3. Shankland, WE. Curriculum vitae, revised April 28, 2005.
  4. Selingo J. Louisiana tries to close loopholes that allow suspected diploma mills to thrive. Chronicle of Higher Education, May 14, 1999, p A40.

This article was revised on March 25, 2007.