Politics of Dental Anesthesiology

A recent article titled “Dental anesthesiology falls short of becoming ADA specialty,” by Rob Goskowski, Nov. 1, 2012, located at http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=rst&pag=dis&ItemID=311903, discusses a recent vote that took place at the House of Delegates during the 2012 American Dental Association (ADA) Annual Session. The House of Delegates voted against recognizing Dental anesthesiology as the 10th ADA recognized specialty.

Steven Ganzberg, a clinical professor and the chair of dental anesthesiology at UCLA says:

“This action by the ADA confirms that the ADA process of specialty approval is fatally flawed….This was clearly an effort by the ADA, through AAOMS [the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons], to restrict professional activities that specialty recognition would have provided.”

Dr. Ganzberg and some other supporters were hoping that the specialty would be approved as they felt it would lead to increased training and emergency preparedness at dental schools.

Dr. Ganzberg goes on to say

“We need to work together to improve safety. Unfortunately, oral surgery’s tactics have undermined their relationship with dental anesthesiology. This is unfortunate for oral surgery, as the data are not desirable for them.”

AAOMS had concerns about anesthesiology in dentistry moving to just dental anesthesiologists and away from oral surgeons if passage of the dental anesthesiology specialty occurred. However, even Dr. Ganzberg says he believes that oral surgeons performing deep sedation is important and useful for patients.

Dr. Ganzberg believes that oral surgeons ability to continue doing deep sedation will not be jeopardized by others in dentistry and that that threat would come from medicine.

Dr. Ganzerg states

“The threat is going to come from medicine, which will at some point stop training oral surgeons as they are clearly opposed to what oral surgeons do: operator anesthesia.”

This is quite clear as back in 2009, the AMA (American Medical Association) released a scope of practice data series which stated

“Oral and maxillofacial training programs for dentists simply cannot duplicate the medical education that physicians receive, which prepares the physician to assess and respond to unexpected medical complications observed during surgery, manage the post-operative recovery and follow-up care of patients, and fully address the systemic needs of surgical patients who may have chronic health conditions that can exacerbate their risks for adverse events during surgery.”

I discussed more of the details of this battle back in 2010 see http://blog.teethremoval.com/american-medical-association-versus-american-association-of-oral-and-maxillofacial-surgeons/.