In our most recent survey, we asked: Is the American Dental Association dominated by specialists who are trying to promote their own agendas and not necessarily the welfare of the general dentist?
Wow – this is certainly a divisive issue!
Nearly two-thirds of our respondents said, “Yes! Specialists and their associations are using the ADA so they can make more money – at the expense of general dentists, of course.” On the other hand, 38% said, “No! The ADA has not allowed special interests to compromise its service to the dental profession as a whole.”
To see how polarizing this issue is, just look at the responses of general dentists as compared to specialists. General dentists were 8 times more likely to criticize the ADA than were specialists! While it’s not surprising that the two groups responded differently to a question about the ADA’s relationship with specialists, the difference between the two is particularly dramatic.
Many readers commented on the troubled relationship between generalists and specialists – two closely related groups of dentists who have to cooperate but also can’t avoid competing. Whew! – passions run high where the ADA is concerned!
Here are just a few of the many comments we received on this hot-button issue.
- “The general dentist is king!!!” (New Hampshire periodontist)
Some felt we were just trying to stir up controversy:
- “This question is an attempt to stir up contempt between specialists and GPs. Nice try.” (New York dentist)
- “This is such a loaded question that you should be embarrassed to ask it.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
- “It is a shame that you wish to hang out the dirty laundry of the dental profession with these questions.” (Oregon periodontist)
Some directly questioned the value of the ADA:
- “The ADA is a dinosaur.” (Mississippi dentist)
- “They have actually become the enemy of the general dentist.” (Missouri dentist)
- “It is controlled by the staff who have their own agenda.” (Massachusetts oral surgeon)
- “The ADA is taking the same approach as the AMA. Politicking and special interests.” (Missouri dentist)
- “What is so disturbing is the alliances with manufacturers and the conflicts of interest in research.” (Nebraska dentist)
Others defended the ADA:
- “If you answer yes to this question, I’d submit you’ve never attended a leadership meeting of the ADA.” (Virginia oral surgeon)
- “This is a ridiculous notion. They are concerned with all of dentistry.” (Ohio periodontist)
Some criticized (some) specialists:
- “The specialists are paranoid that we general dentists are a threat… Orthodontists are the worst.” (Arkansas dentist)
- “Periodontists are out of control!!” (Georgia dentist)
Others criticized (some) general dentists:
- “General dentists are generally a paranoid group of individuals who sacrifice proper patient care for fear of losing extra income.” (Pennsylvania periodontist)
- “Too many general dentists are offering themselves to the public with non-recognized credentials.” (Alaska dentist)
- “This sounds like sour grapes from some general dentists with penis envy!” (California dentist)
Some mourned the new sedation guidelines:
- “Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry: 2 million cases done, 0 Morbidity, 0 Mortality. Do they do that well with IV sedation?” (Maryland dentist)
- “This whole situation with the new effort to restrict the scope and practice of GP’s in regards to conscious sedation is pure dollars-driven territorialism.” (California dentist)