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AAE Fights to Keep Endodontic Practices Open in the District of Columbia

In May, the AAE sent official comments in strong opposition to legislation in the District of Columbia that would mandate all dental specialists to obtain a separate “specialist license,” which would require board certification to obtain the license. Approximately, 24 percent of endodontists are board-certified, and it is deeply concerning that this proposal was brought forward by the Mayor of DC without any input from the DC dental community. The AAE is actively opposing this legislation because we fear that if enacted it would threaten practicing endodontists in the District by forcing them to relocate their practices to neighboring states or close their doors permanently – resulting in a scarcity of dental care for patients.

Another problematic provision in the bill is that it defines the scope of practice for just oral and maxillofacial surgery, but no other dental specialties. The AAE articulated to the Committee on Health that it firmly rejects the idea of defining specific scopes of practice for dental specialties, as this would create ambiguity regarding the legal boundaries of dental practitioners outside the realm of oral and maxillofacial surgery, potentially exposing them to licensure complications or legal repercussions. The scope of practices for dental specialties closely mirror the scope of practice for dentistry in general as demonstrated by the side-by-side comparison outlined below. Like physicians, dentists are afforded the ability to practice all fields of dentistry upon receiving their dental licensure and this legislation would demonstrate that industry norm.

AAE member, Carolina Rodriguez-Rad, DMD, MSD, a practicing endodontist in DC, played a crucial role in alerting the AAE to the bill’s on-the-ground development. The AAE Advocacy staff reached out to the District of Columbia Dental Society to coordinate lobbying efforts and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent the advancement of the legislation.

Side-by-Side Comparisons of the Scope of Practice Definitions:

B25-0632 Definition of the Practice of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery ADA Definition of the Practice of Dentistry

“Practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery means a specialty of the practice of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical, and adjunctive treatment of disease, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region, including cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.”



“The evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.”