A Glossary of Dental Sedation Controversy

by Jim Du Molin

Obviously you’ve heard of the recent controversy over whether general dentists should be permitted to offer conscious sedation to their patients. But do you know the ins and outs of the whole drama? Well, here’s a boiled-down version of all the warring acronyms!

ADA: You should know this acronym! The ADA is considering proposed new guidelines that would limit oral conscious sedation. Voting will take place in September. Many specialists support the new guidelines, and many general dentists oppose them. A recent Wealthy Dentist survey suggests that most general dentists don’t feel represented by the ADA; specialists, on the other hand, tend to support the ADA.

DOCS: The Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation is one of the leaders in the fight against the ADA’s proposed regulations. DOCS is the largest educator in the field of oral conscious sedation. The organization boasts over 3,000 members who have treated over one million patients through conscious sedation without incident.

CDEL: The ADA’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure, along with its Committee on Anesthesiology, is pressing the ADA to change its existing anesthesia guidelines. The organization is chaired by Dr. Stephen Young, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma.

AAOMS: The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has been campaigning to convince state dental boards to adopt the ADA’s proposed new guidelines even before the ADA formally adopts the new guidelines. There’s even some suggestion that the organization has been misrepresenting the proposed guidelines to the states as “official” guidelines they are already required to follow.

Team1500: Even this one is an acronym – Trust for Equal Access in Medicine, a non-profit coalition funded by member dentists. Team1500 has become a major player in the conscious sedation debate. They have already submitted over 1,000 letters of protest to the ADA and Dr. Young of CDEL. The organization has also published a letter to the US Surgeon General, calling on him to intercede with the ADA.

Everyone seems to have a passionate opinion on this hot-button issue. Well, your opinion counts too! An issue like this could change the face of general dentistry in the US. Do you really want a group of self-serving specialist to decide the future of general dentistry while you stand by and watch politely?

So what can you do? Well, if you’re opposed to the new limitations, Team1500 wants your help – and, not surprisingly, they’d love some of your money too. The organization has quite a to-do list:


  • Educate state dental boards, and counter the influence of AAOMS
  • Reach out to ADA delegates who will be voting on the proposal in September
  • Show local and national news media that the proposed regulations would raise
    consumer prices and reduce access to care
  • Inform general dentists of threats to their practices
  • Continue working to ensure all segments of the population have access to quality dental care.



The Wealthy Dentist discovered in a recent survey that four out of five general dentists feel that the ADA represents special interests, not the interests of the general dentist. The ADA’s proposed limitations on oral conscious sedation have clearly alienated general dentists. The ADA is supposed to represent all dentists – and if you don’t feel they’re doing their job, it’s time to make your voice be heard. Visit theTeam15000 website to learn more about what you can do.

What do you think about the ADA’s proposed guidelines? Are specialists just jealously guarding their high-value sedation patients? Or is the ADA truly working to ensure top-quality care for dental patients? I’m eager to hear your thoughts – don’t hesitate to post your comments!

Jim Du Molin


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