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.
Training, education, and utilization of
In the training, education and utilization of dental auxiliaries for the purpose of assisting the dentist in providing high quality dental care through performance of expanded functions, it shall be the recommendation of the Academy of General Dentistry that such auxiliaries be permitted to perform under the direct supervision of the dentist those functions which do not require the professional skill and judgment of the dentist and are in compliance with laws of states which have provisions for expanded functions.
Dentists, and only the dentist, is responsible for the examination, making the diagnosis and formulating the plan of treatment, performing surgical or cutting procedures on hard or soft tissue, fitting and adjusting corrective and prosthodontic appliances, prescribing therapeutic agents and making impressions for other than study casts.
Final decisions related to dental practice and utilization of dental auxiliaries rest with the state board of dentistry.
The AGD recognizes the necessity of effectively utilizing dental auxiliaries to maximize the efficient use of the dentist's time and skills.
Dental hygienists, authority of State Boards of Dental Examiners
Because of the nature of dentistry and the manner in which it is delivered to the public, it is the policy of the Academy of General Dentistry that dental hygiene should remain under the authority of the various state boards of dental examiners and that dental hygiene education should remain under the purview of and be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA)
It is the position of the AGD that the utilization of expanded function dental assistants (EFDA), under the direct supervision of the dentist, providing only reversible procedures is an effective, safe and efficient way to increase capacity and access to care while reducing barriers to utilization of care.
The AGD does not believe that an alternative oral health provider model like the a midlevel provider model is a viable workforce alternative because it is not an economically sustainable solution to treatment delivery and it also creates a two-tier delivery system in which a provider with much less training and education than a dentist treats populations of patients that have far more critical medical and health issues. The AGD has grave concerns that the clinical and didactic education and training of a midlevel provider falls extremely short of the education and training that is required to treat those patients that the proponents of this alternative provider model claim the midlevel provider will treat.
Further, the AGD has published its “White Paper on Increasing Access to and Utilization of Oral Health Care Services” (2008) as well as “Barriers and Solutions to Accessing Care” (2012), which propose various proven solutions to oral health disparities. The AGD believes there are two key components of improving oral health care in America: including fluoridated water, adequate funding and oral health literacy. The AGD hopes all who have concerns with oral health disparities would agree that these two viable options are key to solving the oral health disparities in America.
Workforce, adequacy of present dental workforce
The Academy of General Dentistry adopts the following statement relative to the adequacy of the dentist workforce:The dentist workforce in the United States is sufficient to meet the needs of the public demand for dental services. Geographic imbalances exist in localized areas due to a variety of factors. Where these imbalances result in shortages, the affected regions must be examined and addressed individually for appropriate solutions. The development of a responsive, competent, diverse, and “elastic” workforce should address potential increases in demand for dental services.