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American Dental Association (ADA) Board Exam

At the Texas Dental Association state dental meeting in San Antonio on May 4, 20017,  Dr. Rick Black, our ADA Trustee, gave his overview of a few current events at the ADA.  He apparently has been appointed to study a new national ADA Board dental licensing exam.  The ADA is promoting ONE dental licensure exam that would not include using clinical patients in our traditional licensing board exam format. The dental license would also be portable to all states.  The ADA claims that using patients for dental licensure exams is unethical and young dentists/dental students want the ability to take one exam that is excepted in every state.  Maybe thought portability seems to be a good idea and maybe even our right. However, unintended consequences  may outweigh the benefits and must  be considered.  This is certainly one of those issues.  Giving up our states rights means YOU have less and less voice over your profession making it harder for you to be heard.  I quote a friend of mine on the issue, “to allow a single element of dentistry control over professional education and then allow that same element the power of evaluation and regulation of that education (you have the fox guarding the hen house!)”.

According to the AADB (American Association of Dental Boards) website, AADB is a national association that encourages the highest standards of dental education, promotes higher and uniform standards of qualifications for dental practitioners, and advocates uniform methods in the conduct, operation, and working of dental examining boards.  May 5, 2017 the AADB sent a letter to the ADA stating, “AADB has substantial reservations about ADA’s position on patient-based licensure exams.  While unanimity on an issue is, as already noted, seldom achievable, a considerable majority of AADB’s state dental board members believe that an exam with a patient-based component is preferable to an exam without one.  These boards also believe that there is ample expert opinion, data, and literature to support this position.  AADB seeks careful analysis and discussion of ADA’s assertions and empirical data relating to the reliability of patient-based exams.”

We could not agree more.

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Abby Long