A coalition of more than 1,500 healthcare providers and patients claims the American Dental Association is creating guidelines that favor dental specialists, such as oral surgeons, over general dentists and is driving up the cost of care and limiting access to services.
Team 1500, a Denver-based coalition, opposes oral sedation guidelines proposed by the ADA and wants general dentists in the U.S. to cancel their memberships.
Dean Rotbart, director of Team 1500, which includes general dentists, said the guidelines would require all general dentists to receive additional training for sedation use, which would be costly and time consuming. Oral sedation is used during major dental work and involves administering nitrous oxide and other sedatives.
Rotbart thinks that the guidelines are not based on evidence and that the result will mean fewer patients receiving oral sedation while others experience higher costs as a result of the burden on practitioners. “(The ADA) uses public safety as a cover to pass things that are not related to public safety,” he said.
Team 1500 issued a similar complaint in June 2015.
In an emailed statement, the ADA denied Team 1500's claims and said it bases all guidelines on scientific evidence. “We are disappointed that this group continues to find fault with the actions and representation of the ADA, which strives to represent all segments of dentistry in a fair and responsible manner. We remain confident in the structure and mission of the organization," it said.
The group also argues that board and committee members at the dental association are comprised mostly of dental specialists. As of 2015, approximately 76% of members were general practitioners.
The American Dental Association represents 159,000 dentists in the U.S.