Attorney George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On January 21, 2016, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, ruled that the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners could not prohibit dentists from advertising themselves to the public as “specialists” in dentistry.

The court found this to be unconstitutional, as it violated the defendants’ First Amendment rights to engage in truthful, non-misleading commercial speech. As a result of the decision, dentists who have earned board certification from the Certifying Board sponsored by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) or those of the other plaintiff organizations may now advertise that they are specialists in the state of Texas.

The Ruling.

Judge Sam Sparks ruled that a Texas Administrative Code §108.54 , that restricted specialties in Texas to only those recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) was unconstitutional. The AAID, along with three other dental organizations and five individual Texas dentists, filed suit challenging the Texas regulation.

“This is a great victory for patients throughout the state of Texas. They now can have more information available to them to help them decide who to use for their dental needs,” said Dr. Richard Mercurio, President of AAID. “No longer will patients need to guess whether a dentist who is trained in treating gum disease or extracting teeth is also experienced in the complex and comprehensive field of implant placement and restoration. Patients will now be able to seek out specialists in implant dentistry, such as those certified by AAID’s Certifying Board, the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID),” he pointed out.

To read the court’s decision in this case, click here.

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Davis, Michael. “United States District Court ruling sets stage for expansion of ‘dental specialties’, practitioner independence from ADA restrictions.” Dentistry IQ. (January 25, 2016). Web.

Recker, Frank. “Texas U.S. District Court Sides with AAID on Specialization Lawsuit.” American Academy of Implant Dentistry. (January 25, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), American Dental Association (ADA), Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, dentists advertising as specialists, First Amendment rights to engage in truthful, non-misleading commercial speech, legal representation for dentists, dental industry defense attorney, dentist defense attorney, Board of Dentistry, Board of Dentistry defense lawyer, The Health Law Firm

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