Wednesday, August 12, 2020

ADA Board Adopts New Ad Interim Policy on Dentistry as Essential Health Care


I have been a member of the ADA for as long as I have been in practice, and I was a member of the Student Association prior to that.  I've always felt that profession should speak with one voice and that has never been more important than in the current environment.  This announcement from the ADA is just one more reason why I am a member... and a fan.

Here is the latest announcement from the ADA:

The American Dental Association’s Board of Trustees has adopted an ad interim policy stating dentistry is essential health care to help guide advocacy for the dental profession during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The substance of this ad interim policy was developed by the Council on Dental Practice, and the House of Delegates will consider it as a resolution during its virtual meeting in October.

So why adopt an ad interim policy now? 

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, governors may consider rolling back to an earlier “stage” in their COVID-19 response strategy. If that happens, there may be a risk that dental practices will be told to perform only emergency or urgent procedures.

The ADA Board and I believe this would do a disservice to the public.

The ad interim policy states oral health is an integral component of systemic health and dentistry is an essential health care service because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing and treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.

Whether it is the current pandemic, a future epidemic or a natural disaster in a particular area, this ad interim policy will anchor our advocacy efforts to keep dental practices open so people can continue to access the full range of dental services.

In a recent interview posted on the TODAY show’s website, I was quoted as saying, “Many times people do not comprehend that teeth are attached to the body, to the bone and head, and that it is as important to take care of their teeth as their organs.”

If states start considering roll backs, we must advocate and help decision makers understand —Dentistry is Essential Health Care!

You can read more about our new ad interim policy in this ADA News story.

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