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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9/4/18  9:39 am
Commenter: Dr. Lindsey North-- Dr. Richard Byrd & Associates Ortho & Pediatric Dentist

Strongly Opposed- Misleading to general public

I am constantly educating friends and family about the differences between general dentists and dental specialists such as pediatric dentists and orthodontists.  The general public does not understand that specialists have 2-5 years beyond dental school graduation at much personal and financial sacrifice to gain expertise in the fields of orthodontics or pediatric dentistry in order to work specifically within those fields to deliver the highest quality results for everyone including young children and individuals with special needs that embraces emotional, intellectual, behavioral and physical disabilities using expensive technology to provide the best results, My concern is for the patients and parents who trust general dentists with their specialized care are being mislead to believe their doctor has obtained specific training with advanced techniques and restorative options.  Pediatric dentists are specifically trained in child psychology, behavior management, and the most up-to-date restorative techniques through residency, board-certification/re-certification, and continuing education yearly.  Pediatric dentists are able to offer advanced techniques to help with positive behavior and positive outcomes, we have had extensive experience with sedation and general anesthesia not just a weekend course. General dentists are important for cleaning and restoration but advanced treatment options should always be under the care of a dedicated specialist. Just as I shouldn’t trust my family doctor to treat a specialized medical condition, general dentists should not be allowed to confuse the general public by advertising as the specialists they are not. We see many DIY treatments on the internet that entice or confuse consumers about who they can trust to deliver the outcome they desire. While many general dentists do successfully treat pediatric patients, I talk to many parents of pediatric patients who came to us after having had very bad experiences with a general dentist who was unable to manage a particular behavior, disability or other challenge. Sometimes this results in a patient not returning for dental care.  Sometimes this results in dental resotrations that have to be replaced.  We run the risk of preventing individuals to seek treatment for certain conditions when it becomes commonly believed the success and satisfaction rate has been compromised by providers who basically have not received the training to deliver the desired results. The general public does not understand the difference in a general dentist and specialist.