Behind each package displaying the ADA Seal of Acceptance are dozens of independent experts who verified that product as safe and effective. Leading the way is Dr. Mia Geisinger, chair of the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance subcommittee and Associate Professor in Periodontology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Here, Dr. Geisinger shares her unique path of working through organized dentistry to impact industry and make a daily difference in the public’s oral health.
It all started with my parents’ phone book. In high school, I decided on a healthcare career. My parents were teachers, so I didn’t have anyone at home to answer my questions. I tapped into the next best thing – their trusted contacts. I called every person they knew who worked in healthcare and asked only one question: “If I were your daughter, would you tell me to go into your chosen profession?” Every dentist answered with an enthusiastic yes. My decision was made.
After residency, I worked with an inspiring periodontist and was on the path to a long-term private practice career. Unexpectedly, a career in academia presented itself. I was at a crossroad with considerable dental school debt and a new husband who had not signed on for a life with an academic spouse.
A former professor reassured me there were no bad decisions. I could enter private practice and help my patients achieve oral and overall health. Or, I could be of service by guiding student doctors on the practice of dentistry and improve scientific knowledge and change the lives of the patients all of those students would treat. When I thought about the exponential difference I could make in an academic career, it was a no-brainer! That was nine years ago, and I haven’t looked back.
In my academic role, I am involved in clinical patient care, teaching, service and periodontal clinical research. In 2016, I joined the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and was appointed to the ADA Seal subcommittee. What a wonderful opportunity to put my clinical experience and scientific knowledge to work in a way that helped empower vital home hygiene habits.
Leading a program with integrity takes integrity. Extreme scientific rigor goes into the testing of every submitted product before the Seal is awarded. As a result, the Seal gives dentists and patients confidence that products are safe and will really work – especially when dental aisles are filled with products and online consumer product reviews are often based on everything but science.
Dental technology is changing fast, and the Seal is evolving through innovation. In 2018, 41 new Seal products hit shelves – many in brand-new categories. This year, the Seal program brought dry mouth products into the fold when it awarded the Seal to its first dry mouth product.
The Seal helps shoppers get trusted information at the exact time they are choosing what to use at home. When I am shopping and see someone select an ADA Seal product, I first feel confident that their choice efficacious and safe. But mostly, I just feel proud to be a part of the Seal program team that provides such a unique and impactful service.
This blog post was updated July 2019.