May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


We are Happy to be Here!

November 2013 Volume XLIX Number 6

"We are happy to be here!"

With this opening salutation, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) began a presentation to the American Association of Dental Boards (AADB) during their midyear meeting in Chicago. The AADB, composed of dental boards from all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, focuses on licensure and the regulation of dental practice in the interest of public safety. To accomplish their collective goals, each individual board mandates:
1.) Initial licensing examinations.
2.) Disciplinary investigations.
3.) Continuing dental education requirements.
The theme of this April meeting was "Continued Competency" of the dental practitioner. AADB had invited the ABPD to present a synopsis of our continued competency vehicle, the Renewal of Certification Process (ROC-P). ABPD viewed the invitation as an honor and was most eager to share our efforts as well as the success of the ROC-P.
The idea of continued competency is not new to dentistry and has been advocated for years. A question posed during a presentation by James R. Cole, DDS (AADB past president) was, "Why would we require someone entering the profession to demonstrate basic competency through an examination and not require evidence of continued competency of a current licensee?"
Presently, the most common subjective requirement for dental license renewal is continuing education. Attendees voiced concern that completion of a continuing education course alone without a preand post-course appraisal does not measure competency nor ensure improved knowledge for the participant.
So, how might continued competency be better measured? Some tools suggested during the AADB meeting include:
1.) An examination in which the licensed practitioner demonstrates knowledge similar to that of his/her peers. 
2.) A self-assessment that this same knowledge is used in his/her practice.
3.) An audit of patient charts to evaluate actual performance.
The ABPD ROC-P uses each of these suggested tools in evaluating continued competency. Annual requirements for renewal of certification demonstrate continued competency through continuing education and Continuous Quality Improvement modules and mirror those of our medical colleagues.
These requirements, and the associated continued competency which is demonstrated, are something in which all Board-certified pediatric dentists can take pride.
Continued competency is a requirement for Diplomates to maintain certification by each of the nine dental specialty boards recognized by the American Dental Association. The ABPD has taken a lead in validating continued competency through the ROC-P, which serves as an example for other dental specialties.
One can only speculate where discussions on continued competency could lead in terms of changes to state licensure requirements in dentistry. Increasing government involvement in health care delivery and growing interest from third-party providers to assure quality of care will continue to raise this issue. Dentistry cannot sit on the sidelines during these discussions.
For the ABPD to be a leader in the discussion and even potentially a part of the answer¼ is grand. "We are happy to be here!"

For comments or questions on this article, contact Dr. Creech at