News

Urge Congress to Support the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

The Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and a number of other organizations, supports the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), which would ensure all group and individual health plans cover medically necessary services, including needed dental procedures such as orthodontic or prosthodontic support, as a result of a congenital anomaly. But we need your help to urge Congress to ensure it passes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 33 newborns in the U.S. suffers from a congenital abnormality, and severe dental anomalies are a common symptom of many craniofacial conditions. Most private health plans cover surgical treatment for these conditions, and their coverage is a requirement in many states. However, claims for oral or dental-related procedures, including orthodontia and dental implants, are often deemed cosmetic and denied. Patients often face significant out of pocket expenses as a result.

ELSA would alleviate this financial burden, ensuring access to necessary diagnosis and treatment for those with congenital craniofacial abnormalities.

With more than 260 bipartian cosponsors, ELSA is a much-needed solution for American patients. Please urge your representatives in Congress and the U.S. Senate to support the bill and sign on as coauthors if they haven’t already.

AAPD will advocate for ELSA during its Congressional visits on March 3-4 as part of our Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference. Help amplify their efforts to get ELSA passed by contacting Congress today.

To find contact information for your representatives, please visit
https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home.

For more information about ELSA, please visit https://www.nfed.org/get-
involved/advocate/ensuring-lasting-smiles-act/
.

Coronal Polishing & Pit & Fissure Sealant Requirements

The below information is guidance we received from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) regarding coronal polishing and pit and fissure sealant requirements. Please reach out to us at email@tapd.org with any questions.

The TSBDE no longer issues certificates for applying pit and fissure sealants and performing coronal polishing. 22 Tex. Admin. Code §114.3(d) and §114.5(b) do still require that a dental assistant have the required education/qualifications to perform either service.

Because TSBDE no longer requires dental assistants to submit their certification, it is up to the dental assistant and the supervising dentist to ensure that the dental assistant meets the requirements under the rule before dental procedures may be delegated. If not, the dentist and the dental assistant may be subject to disciplinary action.

Pit and Fissure Sealants
Pursuant to 22 Tex. Admin. Code §114.3(d), a Texas-licensed dentist may delegate the application of pit and fissure sealants to a dental assistant if the dental assist has:

1) at least two years of experience as a dental assistant;

2) successfully completed a current course in basic life support; and

3) completed a minimum of 8 hours of education that includes clinical and didactic education in pit and fissure sealants taken through a CODA-accredited dental, dental hygiene, or dental assistant program approved by the Board whose course of instruction includes:
a. infection control;
b. cardiopulmonary resuscitation;
c. treatment of medical emergencies;
d. microbiology;
e. chemistry;
f. dental anatomy;
g. ethics related to pit and fissure sealants;
h. jurisprudence related to pit and fissure sealants; and
i. the correct application of sealants, including the actual clinical application of sealants.

Pursuant to 22 Tex. Admin. Code §114.3(f)(f), the dental assistant must comply with the Dental Practice Act and Board Rules in the application of pit and fissure sealants. Pursuant to §258.003 of the Dental Practice Act, the delegating dentist is responsible for all dental acts delegated to a dental assistant, including application of pit and fissure sealant.

Coronal Polishing
Pursuant 22 Tex. Admin. Code §114.5(b), a Texas-licensed dentist may delegate coronal polishing to a dental assistant if the dental assistant:

1) works under the direct supervision of the licensed dentist; and has

2) at least two years experience as a dental assistant; and either

a. completed a minimum of eight (8) hours of clinical and didactic education in coronal polishing taken through a dental school, dental hygiene school, or dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and approved by the Board. The education must include courses on:
i. oral anatomy and tooth morphology relating to retention of plaque and stain;
ii. indications, contraindications, and complications of coronal polishing;
iii. principles of coronal polishing, including armamentarium, operator and patient positioning, technique, and polishing agents;
iv. infection control procedures;
v. polishing coronal surfaces of teeth; and
vi. jurisprudence relating to coronal polishing; or

b. has either:
i. graduated from a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and approved by the board that includes specific didactic course work and clinical training in coronal polishing; or
ii. received certification of completion of requirements specified by the Dental Assisting National Board and approved by the Board.

Pursuant to 22 Tex. Admin. Code §114.5(e)(e), the dental assistant must comply with the Dental Practice Act and Board Rules in the act of coronal polishing. Pursuant to §258.003 of the Dental Practice Act, the delegating dentist is responsible for all dental acts delegated to a dental assistant, including coronal polishing.

Dr. James at AAPD Media Training

Dr. Laji James (Houston) was selected to attend the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Media Training Course in Chicago, Illinois.