Dental Continuing Education: No More National Approval for Invisalign

Invisalign loses AGD approval for dental continuing educationThe dentist rumor mill says that the AGD is revoking Invisalign’s PACE approval — that is, the AGD will no longer formally recognize Invisalign continuing education.

Some quick background: The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is the educational arm of the American Dental Association (ADA). The AGD offers national certification to dental continuing education courses through its Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE).

Like so many in the dental industry, the AGD was not happy when Invisalign announced in 2009 that all providers would have to meet Align’s new “proficiency requirements,” which mandated completing 10 hours of Invisalign continuing dental education and starting at least 10 patient cases per year. The AGD congratulated Align on removing Invisalign provider requirements:

On June 2, 2009, Align Technology Inc. announced its Invisalign® Proficiency Requirements that mandated a quota of 10 patient case starts each year utilizing the Invisalign product. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) acted immediately by engaging Align in negotiations and exploring all legally permissible options. More than 1,500 AGD members voiced their concerns directly to the president of Align.

The AGD is pleased to report that the members’ voices have been heard. Align announced yesterday, April 22, that it has dropped the patient case start quota from its 2010 Invisalign Proficiency Requirements.

AGD Press Release, 4/23/10

When I followed up with Invisalign, here’s what their PR rep told me:

  • Align received notification in March that the AGD National PACE Council had decided to withdraw PACE approval from Align.
  • AGD’s decision does not impact Align’s ability to offer CE hours, but it does change the way that doctors will need to apply CE hours towards their individual licensing credentials. Doctors who are interested in applying Invisalign CE hours towards their license renewals will now need to submit them to their respective state boards for accreditation.
  • California doctors are not impacted by this decision. Align is a Registered Provider of Continuing Education in the state of CA, through the Dental Board of CA.
  • This decision by AGD does not impact the 10 Invisalign CE hours Invisalign providers must complete each year. CE hours earned for taking Align courses still count towards the proficiency requirements – regardless of whether or not the doctor chooses to submit the hours to his/her state board for licensing renewal purposes.
  • The AGD PACE guidelines provide a process for appeal or reconsideration of this type of action, and Align has already initiated that appeal process.

– Align Technologies

Confused yet? Me too. Here’s my understanding:

  1. Invisalign doctors will still have to complete 10 hours of Invisalign CE each year, and Invisalign will still offer those courses.
  2. Invisalign CE is no longer nationally recognized under AGD’s Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE). This means that accreditation of Invisalign CE hours will now be state-by-state.
  3. You can still get credit for your Invisalign CE, but now you’ll have to submit those hours to your state board for approval.
  4. Luckily for California dentists, the dental continuing ed has already been accredited by the Dental Board of California.
  5. If you’re an AGD member, you won’t be able to use Invisalign CE hours to meet AGD membership requirements for dental CE.
  6. Invisalign is scrambling to reverse this decision!

An interesting aside: I was not able to get any information on this subject from the AGD itself. They have a confidentiality agreement with providers, so their PACE representative would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. I was directed to their website, where it says that Invisalign is “Nationally Approved from 10/1/2007 – 9/30/2011.” The woman I spoke to at the AGD said that the information on their website reflected the current database.

So what do you think? Is Invisalign on the right track?


About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

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