Do dentists have the same political power as the NRA?

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In a Washington Post report, Richard Malaby, Maine House Representative, compared the political force of dentists and the American Dental Association to the NRA.

Lawmakers from across the country describe the American Dental Association as a unified political force with the power to dictate the future of the dental industry.

Here's what you need to know.

1. The Federal Trade Commission has battled dentists in multiple states over anticompetitive conduct. In 2015, the FTC won a Supreme Court ruling against the North Carolina dental board, which was trying to block teeth-whitening business from operating in malls.

2. This past year, the FTC commented on the growing campaign to improve access to dental care through dental therapists, part of mid-level practitioners category.

3. With the possibility of dental therapists practicing, Maine dentists flooded the statehouse in August 2016, forcing lawmakers to declare their offices dental free zones.

4. Dental therapists cost less to train, treat more people on Medicaid and are currently practicing in 50 countries. In the U.S., only four states allow dental therapy programs and 11 are under consideration.

5. The ADA argues that dental therapists do not provide adequate care to patients, especially when cutting into teeth.

6. Since the bills to implement dental therapists were introduced in 2004, the ADA has spent millions of dollars trying to block the bills.

7. Of the 200,000 dentists in the U.S., 64 percent are ADA members compared to the 25 percent of physicians belonging to the American Medical Association.

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