Anesthesiology becomes latest recognized dental specialty

By | March 12, 2019

Dental anesthesiology becomes the 10th dental specialty recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, according to ADA News.

The recognition comes after the National Commission on March 11 adopted a resolution based on an application from the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists to recognize dental anesthesiology as a dental specialty.

“This historic vote by the National Commission certainly reflects the ADA’s ongoing efforts towards improved patient care and safety in the areas of dental sedation, dental anesthesiology and access for those with special health care needs,” said Dr. James Tom, president of the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists.

The ADA House of Delegates in 2017 established the National Commission to oversee the decision-making process for recognizing dental specialties. The “Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties” is still managed by the ADA’s Council on Education and Licensure and the ADA House of Delegates.

Dental anesthesiology now joins the following dental specialties: dental public health; endodontics; oral and maxillofacial pathology; oral and maxillofacial radiology; oral and maxillofacial surgery; orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics; pediatric dentistry; periodontics; and prosthodontics.

Dental specialties are recognized “to protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry and improve the quality of care,” according to the National Commission website.

A sponsoring organization seeking specialty recognition for discipline of dentistry must document that the discipline satisfies six requirements, as outlined in the “Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties.” The sponsoring organization of the proposed specialty must provide documentation to show that it is a distinct and well-defined field that requires unique knowledge and skills beyond those commonly possessed by dental school graduates; that it requires advanced knowledge and skills; and that it scientifically contributes new knowledge, education and research in both the field, and the profession

The American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists submitted its application to the National Commission in September 2018. Following a review by the National Commission’s Review Committee on Specialty Recognition in November 2018, the National Commission invited public comment for a 60-day period.

At its February 2019 meeting, the review committee considered all the comments received that directly related to whether the application met all the requirements for specialty recognition and made a recommendation to the National Commission to grant specialty status. At its March 11 meeting, the National Commission determined that the application did indeed meet the “Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties” and adopted a resolution recognizing dental anesthesiology as a dental specialty. A resolution needs a two-thirds majority vote to be approved.

Following approval by the National Commission, the sponsoring organization must establish a national board for certifying diplomats in accordance with the “Requirements for Recognition of Dental Certifying Boards.”

The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards is comprised of nine general dentists, appointed by the ADA Board of Trustees and approved by the House of Delegates; one specialist from each of the nine recognized specialties, appointed by the sponsoring organization; and a public/consumer member appointed by the National Commission.

“Being the 10th ADA-recognized specialty in 20 years validates to the public and the profession that organized dentistry is willing to challenge the status quo and explore new collaborative efforts with our counterparts in medicine and nursing,” said Dr. Tom. “We look forward to widely promulgating sedation and anesthesia awareness and education in all facets of oral health care, and as dentist anesthesiologists working alongside all other dental professionals, we hope to drive the profession forward cooperatively.”

The recognition comes nearly 175 years after a Hartford, Connecticut, dentist extracted one of his third molars to test the analgesic properties of nitrous oxide. It was Dr. Horace Well’s introduction of nitrous oxide, and the demonstration of anesthetic properties of ether by Dr. William Morton, a student of Dr. Wells’, that gave the gift of anesthesia to medicine and dentistry.

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