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10 Things the ADA Did for You This Year

The year is half over.  What has organized dentistry done for you so far?  Quite a lot actually.  Below are just ten of the items that I found to be particularly interesting.  But let’s not forget the countless legislative victories for dentistry around the country.

(1)    Figured out how the Affordable Care Act will affect you – The ADA Health Policy Resource Center did state-by-state research and analysis to estimate how you will be affected by this massive health care overhaul.  Click here to learn more.

(2)    Legislative victory over insurance companies – In Iowa, the ADA and Iowa Dental Association won a big victory at the state Supreme Court over third party payers.  The insurance companies had attempted to set caps on the amount dentists could charge for non-covered services.  If a company refuses to pay for a service, what right do they have to set your fee for you?  Well, the ADA fought this and won.

(3)    Support for Moore, OK – The ADA offered numerous resources including financial aid to the dentists and dental students affected by the tragic tornados that hit Oklahoma.  Whenever there is a Sandy or a Katrina, the ADA is there to support dentists getting back to work and providing care for their patients.

(4)    Corrected Pew on an inaccurate study that claimed mid-level providers are more effective than dentists – A Pew study found that in New Zealand (which allows dental therapists), only 3% of children have untreated decay whereas that number is 20% in the United States.  Aside from the fact that comparing New Zealand to the United States is wrought with potential confounding variables, the ADA was able to refute this claim on its own.  It turns out that Pew based the 20% number on a CDC study that had been corrected after its initial publication.  The CDC study had only included permanent teeth, not primary teeth.  When the correct figures are used, both New Zealand and the US have the same amount of untreated decay.

(5)    Give Kids a Smile – Now over a decade old, this philanthropic program continues to be a shining example of how dental professionals give back to those in need.  In recent years, GKAS has gained significant attention in the media, thanks in part to the ADA’s partnership with NASCAR driver Greg Biffle who adorns the hood of his car with our logo.

(6)    Continued the fight to repeal insurance company exemption from antitrust litigation – “The Competitive Health Insurance Act” was introduced by Congressman Paul Gosar (who happens to be a dentist) that seeks to remove the exemption of insurance companies from federal antitrust laws.  Currently insurance companies can share data and collude to set better rates for themselves.

(7)    Responded to Dr. Oz – The ADA released statements to the media and to educate its members after Dr. Oz brandished a toothbrush on a simulated amalgam filling on national television.  More importantly, the ADA publically withdrew its support of Dr. Oz’s healthcare website,  The ADA no longer supplies content to the site and will not lend its brand to it.  We stand for real science, not voodoo and parlor tricks.

(8)    Contained media attention on the Tulsa Oral Surgeon – ADA spokespersons took to CBS Evening News and other outlets to educate the public about safe infection control procedures after a now infamous oral surgeon exposed his patients to HIV and hepatitis.  Although what this dentist did was unconscionable, we must seek to educate the public to avoid widespread panic and negative public relations.

(9)    The “Two Minutes, Twice a Day” campaign – For years dentists would ask when the ADA would launch a print and television campaign to increase oral health awareness.  That time has come with the ADA partnership with the AD Council and several other dental associations.  A popular series of ads has hit the media airwaves humorously showing the bizarre things kids can do in two minutes.

(10) The UNEP Treaty – The ADA successfully shared proper science with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to not limit the use of amalgam as a restorative material.  The original provisions sought to phase it out, which could have had devastating effects on the global oral health.  A modern practice in the United States may not use amalgam all that much, but imagine you are on a relief mission in a third world country… yeah, we still need amalgam to fight disease.


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