AGD supports excellence in general dentistry and the pursuit of professional development through lifelong learning. We have developed policies that serve the needs and represent the interests of general dentists; promote oral health to the public; and foster continued proficiency of general dentistry in order to better serve the public.
The following policies serve to provide structure and consensus about the intended behaviors and actions AGD supports.
Barriers and Access to Care
Increasing Access to Utilization of Oral Health Care Services
The AGD believes that charitable foundations such as Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Kellogg) should focus their resources to fund the solutions that are identified by the AGD, including the solutions contained within the AGD White Paper Increasing Access to and Utilization of Oral Health Care Services, to improve the status of oral health in underserved and vulnerable populations.
The appropriate entity or entities of the AGD should determine the feasibility, advisability and when appropriate, the mechanism and timing, to engage charitable foundations such as Pew and Kellogg with the purpose of seeking funding for the solutions that are identified by the AGD including specific solutions that are contained within the AGD White Paper with regard to improving the status of oral health in underserved and vulnerable populations.
Access to dental care
Incentives for dentists to practice in underserved areas
The Academy of General Dentistry believes that in order to encourage dentists to practice in underserved areas, the following must occur:
a. The period over which student loans are forgiven must be extended to 10 years, without a tax liability for the amount forgiven in any year.
b. Tax credits must be provided for establishing a dental practice in said areas.
c. Scholarships must be offered to dental students in exchange for serving in said areas.
d. Federal loan guarantees must be provided for the purchase of dental equipment and materials.
e. Appropriations for funding an increase in the number of dentists serving in the National Health Service Corps must be enacted.
f. Active recruitment of applicants for dental schools from underserved areas.
Legislative agenda for providing
The Academy of General Dentistry believes that any effort to get the necessary personnel to improve access to and utilization of dental care for indigent populations will be multi-factorial and complex, and includes but is not limited to the following items (understanding that these items are not prioritized and will vary from state to state):
a.Take steps to facilitate effective compliance with government-funded dental care programs to achieve optimum oral health outcomes for indigent populations.
i. raise fees to at least the 75th percentile of fees which dentists currently charge
ii. eliminate extraneous paperwork
iii. simplify Medicaid rules
iv. mandate prompt reimbursement
v. educate Medicaid officials regarding the unique nature of dentistry
vi. provide block grants to states from the federal government for innovative programs
vii. require mandatory annual dental examinations for children entering school (analogous to immunizations) to determine their oral health status
viii. encourage education of patients in proper oral hygiene and in the importance of keeping scheduled appointments
ix. utilize case management to ensure that the patients are brought to the dental office
x. increase general dentists’ understanding of the benefits of treating the indigent
b. Establish alternative oral health care delivery service units
i. provide oral health care, education, and preventive programs in schools
ii. arrange for transportation to and from the centers
iii. solicit volunteer participation from the private sector to staff the centers
c. Encourage private organizations such as Donated Dental Services, fraternal organizations, and religious groups to establish and provide service
d. Provide Mobile and Portable Dental Units to service the underserved and indigent of all age groups
e. Identify educational resources for dentists on how to provide care to pediatric and special needs patients and increase AGD dentist participation
f. Provide information to dentists and their staffs on cultural diversity issues which will help them reduce or eliminate barriers to clear communication and enhance understanding of treatment and treatment options
g. Pursue development of a comprehensive oral health education component for public schools’ health curriculum in addition to providing editorial and consultative services to publishers of primary and secondary school textbooks
h. Increase supply of dental assistants and dental hygienists
i. Strengthen alliances with the American Dental Education Association and other professional organizations
j. Expand the role that retired dentists can play in providing service to the indigent.