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AAID Suit Challenges How Texas Recognizes Dental Specialties

Posted on Friday, March 7, 2014


The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) has filed suit in Federal District Court in Austin, Texas challenging the constitutionality of a regulation promulgated by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners that limits dentists from advertising to the public as “specialists.”

The regulation delegates the authority to determine “specialties” and which dentists can call themselves “specialists” to the American Dental Association, a private trade association over which the Texas Board of Dental Examiners has no control. Specialty recognition is entirely determined within the ADA through a political process carried out by competitor dentists, with no opportunity for review or appeal by any licensed dentist in Texas. The regulation, Texas Administrative Code Sec. 108.54, is available online here.

The AAID was joined by three other organizations that issue bona fide credentials and certifications in various areas of dentistry, such as implant dentistry, dental anesthesia, orofacial pain, and oral medicine. The plaintiff organizations are the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, and the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Five individual Texas licensed dentists are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“This law violates several constitutional guarantees to Texas dentists, including the right to due process, equal protection under the law and the right to free speech. This regulation is similar to a Florida state statute that also deferred specialty recognition to the ADA, which was declared unconstitutional in 2009 (see DuCoin v Viamonte Ros),” according to Frank Recker, DDS, JD, attorney for the AAID.

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