Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Dentistry
Regulations Governing the Practice of Dentistry [18 VAC 60 ‑ 21]
Action Amendment to restriction on advertising dental specialties
Comment Period Ends 9/5/2018
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8/8/18  9:44 pm
Commenter: Chris R. Richardson, DMD, MS

Oppose this potential change

It is truly disheartening to see that this regulatory action is being considered.  The American Board of Dental Specialties has hired an exceptional attorney to make every effort to move this through each state.  The threat of legal action has made this even more distasteful.  To be honest, the legal threat is the only thing moving this forward.  If you review the CODA requirements for specialty training for the existing dental specialties, they far outweigh the tremendously minimal requirements of the ABDS recognized specialties.  In fact, their requirements are roughly equivalent to one month of a 3-5 year specialty program. Imagine going to see a dentist thinking that they are specialty trained and you find out it is a very watered down version, if that. 

You should take the time to read the dissent opinion by Judge James Graves of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  This legislation was approved from a fear of First Amendment Rights regarding Freedom of Speech.  This is ridiculous and Judge Graves states in his opposing opinion that "Misleading Speech" is not covered under the Rights of The First Amendment.  Those that would claim specialty status based on a weekend continuing education course are in fact misleading the public regarding their abilities.  Sadly, the public will not know the difference.  The Virginia Board of Dentistry is charged with protecting the Commonwealth's public from an oral health perspective.  This legislation does not live up to that charge.  Please don't misunderstand, the current regulations in place are very well done.  A dentist may claim that his/her practice is limited to a certain arena, however, they must also state that they are providing this limited scope of care as a  general dentist.  

The ADA recently established The ADA Commision on Specialty Recognition.  The first meeting of this commision was in May this year.  Interestingly, The commission is made up of ONE specialist representative from the nine ADA recognized specialties and NINE general dentist. A very fair representation.  These general dentist see the value in recognizing specialist for what they bring to patient care with regards to skills, predictability, long term prognosis, patient management, and ability to treat difficult problems.  My advice to the Virginia Board of Dentistry is to wait and see what this commission decides and how they will, without conflict of interest, position the recognition of specialties in dentistry.

Finally, this legislation will be a heavy burden for the young clinicians who seek to become the most well-educated specialists in the field of Dentistry.  These young people have invested 4 years of college, 4 years of dental school training, and 3-6 years in an ADA recognized and CODA accredited Specialty Training Program.  Imagine spending 11-14 years of your life to become the very best and at the end of the day, anyone else who took a weekend course can claim specialty status.  Not to mention the Time, Energy, and Stress related to that training, but also the financial commitment.  Student debt is astounding and for a specialty trained student,  the current graduate debt-load is anywhere from $350,000.00-1,000,00.00 dollars. YES, you read that correctly. Please make the correct ETHICAL and MORAL decision regarding this proposed legislation.  PLEASE DO NOT make this change to Specialty Advertising in Virginia.  If it helps you to know, tremendous strides in defeating this have occured in IOWA, NEW JERSEY, and NORTH CAROLINA. I appreciate your attention.