ACP News, Advocacy News   January 17, 2019

Update on Specialty Recognition


Dear fellow ACP members,

First, I would like to wish you all the very best in the New Year.

Last year, I had the unique opportunity to be appointed by the ACP to serve on the newly-formed National Commission on Dental Specialty Recognition and Certifying Boards. This body was established by the ADA House of Delegates, which effectively removed the ADA from recognition of dental specialties and placed the responsibility with this new commission.

You can read more about the events that led to this on the ACP website.

The Commission used its first year to commence operations and develop the processes by which prospective new specialties will be evaluated. I would like to share some of the highlights of the past year and hopefully answer some questions you may have about the landscape of specialty recognition going forward.

The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards provides an objective evaluation of dental specialties and their certifying boards. This is based upon transparent standards that protect the public and nurture the art and science of dentistry. The National Commission is dedicated to improving the quality of care by ensuring compliance with the ADA Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists.

The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards is accepted to be the standard of excellence in the recognition of the dental specialties and dental specialty certifying boards.

Objectivity, Integrity, Transparency, Consistency

The first meeting of the Commission was held in Chicago, May 8-10. At that meeting, the focus was on establishing rules, defining the mission, and populating committees.

Members may serve one four-year term of office. The Commission consists of 19 members: nine general dentists and nine specialists, with one public member.

Commissioner terms shall take effect at the adjournment sine die of the current year’s ADA House of Delegates annual session and serve until the adjournment sine die of the following year’s House of Delegates annual session.

A reference for the composition and processes of the Commission can also be found on the ACP website.

The Commission is now prepared to fully and fairly evaluate applications for specialty status. Currently, the Commission is considering an application from Dental Anesthesia. The application is out for public comment by communities of interest at this time. There will be discussion at the next meeting, March 11-12 in Chicago.

Of further interest in the evolving landscape of specialty recognition is the following: On September 25, 2018, a complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by the United States Board of Oral Implantology and International Congress of Oral Implantologists against the American Board of Dental Specialists (ABDS) and its member certifying Board, the American Board of Oral Implantology, as well as various other individuals for violations of federal antitrust laws.

As you may recall, ABDS was formed to recognize aspiring specialties and was successful in suing ADA in a number of states. The ACP will provide further updates as they become available.

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 on this Commission.


Frank J. Tuminelli, DMD, FACP
National Advocacy Representation


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