Special delivery

In 1859, 26 dentists met in Niagara Falls, New York and formed the American Dental Association. Over the next 159 years, as technology and techniques continued to grow, the ADA formally recognized nine dental specialties to protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry, and improve the quality of care. The nine recognized dental specialties are 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.

More specialties aspire to making the list, and the ADA is working to provide the tools necessary to broaden the scope of the dental profession. May 2018 marked the establishment of a new commission to oversee the decision-making process for recognizing dental specialties and their respective 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 one specialist from each of the nine recognized specialties, appointed by the sponsoring organization. A public/consumer member will be appointed later this year.

The Board decided to explore a new commission after it charged the Task Force on Specialty and Specialty Certifying Board Recognition to evaluate the process and criteria by which specialties and specialty certifying boards are recognized. Previously, the ADA House of Delegates determined the recognition of dental specialties, organizations, and certifying boards. According to the Board report, that process carried financial and reputational risks. The establishment of the national commission is expected to enhance the specialty recognition program in accord with the ADA Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists, which is designed to help dentists excel throughout their careers and the public ascertain the importance of educationally qualified and board-certified dental specialists.

“The commissioners are committed to this new process for specialty recognition and look forward to receiving applications from interested dental groups,” said Dr. Charles H. Norman, III, chair of the national commission.

Source: American Dental Association