New Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) recently voted to implement a process of accreditation for dental therapy education programs. In taking this action, CODA indicated that the additional documentation necessary to meet criteria #2 and #5of the Commission’s “Principles and Criteria Eligibility of Allied Dental Programs for Accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation” have now been satisfied. CODA estimates the soonest a dental therapy education program in the U.S. could be evaluated and awarded accreditation is January 2017.

CODA’s action may cause confusion among ADA members and may pose questions to dental societies engaged in workforce challenges.

The ADA provides the following resources which may be helpful for ADA officers, trustees and dental society leaders to use when communicating about CODA’s action to members and other audiences:

It’s important to note that the ADA’s position on alternative workforce models remains unchanged—that only dentists, because of their education and professional training, are qualified to diagnose, create treatment plans and perform surgical procedures. The ADA, through the Council on Education and Licensure, made that position clear to CODA in the form of written comments.

According to CODA, the accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs do not include diagnosis of dental disease nor creation of treatment plans; however they do include some restorative dental treatment services.

The ADA believes there is no one-size-fits-all solution to improving access to dental care in the U.S.

Unlike proposals such as the introduction of a new workforce model that will take years to implement, the ADA’s Action for Dental Health comprises here-and-now solutions led by ADA member dentists working with existing dental team members in an efficient, proven system that is getting more people the care that they need now.

If you have additional questions related to the following areas and CODA’s action, please contact:

Jeff Troupe, State Government Affairs: [email protected]

Robert Raible, Public Affairs, media relations: [email protected]

Dr. Anthony Ziebert, Senior Vice President, Dental Education and Licensure: [email protected]