ACP News, Advocacy News   March 25, 2019

Anesthesiology Recognized as Dental Specialty

Dear fellow ACP members,

I am writing to report that the National Commission on the Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards has approved an application from Dental Anesthesiology for certification as a dental specialty. This is the first new specialty to be recognized in 20 years, and the first to be approved by the National Commission.

The National Commission thoroughly vetted the proposed new specialty, with a full review and discussion of the merits of the application. The vote required was 2/3 of the membership of the commission (nine specialists, nine general dentists, and one public member).

During the review process, the commission received input from the Council on Dental Education and Licensure (CDEL), which indicated that Dental Anesthesiology had met the requirements from its perspective and recommended approval. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) has already set Standards for the Advanced Education Programs in Dental Anesthesiology that are currently in place. Hence, the programs for this new specialty will be held to the same level of competency as the existing specialties. Dental Anesthesiology will also have its own certifying board to examine candidates for designation as Diplomates.

Dental Anesthesiology becomes the 10th recognized dental specialty, joining prosthodontics, dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics.

The National Commission will now add a seat for Dental Anesthesiology along with another seat for a general dentist to maintain balance. The American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists will also be invited to join the other specialty organizations at the biannual meetings of the Dental Specialty Group.

This was an historic first step. As you may recall, the National Commission was created to remove the ADA from specialty recognition and establish an open, transparent process by which prospective specialties could be evaluated while upholding the qualities conferred by specialty status. This process has been proven to work in a diverse environment allowing for open discussion with a resolution. It will also serve as a legal barometer.

For prosthodontists who incorporate anesthesia into their practice delivery model, this brings a measure of excellence. We can be assured that when a dental anesthesiologist is brought into the treatment arena, they are duly trained and held to standards of competency that mirror our own.

The National Commission will evaluate further applications as they come forward. It will also continue to grow, evolve, and define the process of specialty recognition and re-certification, as CEDL has given the latter responsibility to the National Commission.

As prosthodontists, we can feel confident that the application of other groups for specialty status will be held to the same standards of rigor and excellence that we and other specialties have met.

As a member of the American College of Prosthodontists, you belong to the organization that represents the specialty of prosthodontics and ensures national recognition of the specialty. Your membership makes it possible for the ACP to represent the specialty with a unified voice.

I thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your Commissioner.


Frank J. Tuminelli, DMD, FACP


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