Alabama General Dentist Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee to Ensure Access to Dental Health Care

  • by AGD Staff
  • May 16, 2024

Dr. IsbellAcademy of General Dentistry (AGD) member and Alabama general dentist Gordon R. Isbell III, DMD, MAGD, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) today, and discussed access to and issues facing the delivery of oral health care in the United States. Isbell’s testimony came just days before the AGD will host members from across the country on Capitol Hill during its annual Hill Day, May 20-21.

"Research continues to highlight the importance of dental care to overall well-being, but also shows the inequities in access to dental care," said Isbell to the committee. "AGD is committed to addressing these inequities by leveraging the abilities of private practice general dentists. I recognize that the Committee has a broad jurisdiction with many important issues to focus on, and so I applaud you for your focus on oral health care. However, let me be clear, we must ensure that the private practice of dentistry is protected and that in our efforts to find solutions to common problems, we do not diminish the care we provide, make it harder to enter into and survive in private dental practice, or dilute the level of services that only fully trained and licensed dentists can and should provide." (Read the full testimony.)

During his testimony, Isbell also addressed the need to ensure access to dental health care and strengthen the private practice of dentistry.  His testimony highlighted the connection between oral and systemic health. He explained that AGD is prepared to collaborate on ways to bring awareness to the many challenges facing dentistry, dental patients, and oral health overall.

While addressing these topics, Isbell addressed the four priority areas of importance that the AGD is encouraging Congress to act on:

  1. Supporting increased workforce in dentistry (Action on Dental Health Act)
  2. Promoting equitable relationships between dentists and insures (Dental and Optometric Care Access Act)
  3. Including the AGD as an approved provider of opioid training under the MATE Act
  4. Promoting oral health literacy (Oral Health Literacy Act)

Illnesses related to oral health result in 6.1 million days of bed disability, 12.7 million days of restricted activity, and 20.5 million lost workdays each year.

Isbell is a practicing general dentist from Gadsden, Alabama with over 43 years of experience. He and his son, Ross Isbell, DMD, MAGD, have two practices with over 20 employees. He has spent considerable time advocating on behalf of oral health care and working with legislators and regulators at the local and national levels. In addition, he has held numerous leadership positions with the AGD and ADA. In 2023, he received the AGD’s Dr. Mark S. Ritz Advocate for Dentistry Award, and previously received the AGD’s Distinguished Service Award. Isbell has also been active with the American Dental Association (ADA), including serving as co-chairman from 2012 to 2014 of the ADA’s American Dental Political Action Committee (ADPAC). In 2015, he received the ADPAC’s Jack Wilson Award for Advocacy.

About the Academy of General Dentistry

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 40,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. Founded in 1952, AGD is the largest association for general dentists in the world and serves the needs and represents the interests of general dentists. For more information about AGD, visit,