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ASD, USOC partner for athlete dental care

September 09, 2013

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Dr. Rick Knowlton
Philadelphia—Eligible volunteer dentists may provide dental care for U.S. Olympic elite athletes as members of the USOC health care team under an agreement announced by the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

“The basic idea is that participating dentists will volunteer to supply specific basic dental health service to Olympic athletes (not Olympic hopeful athletes, rather those the U.S. Olympic Committee has designated specifically as their elite Olympic athletes) free of charge,” said Dr. Rick Knowlton, incoming president and chair of the ASD 31st annual symposium Aug. 1-3.

“These services will include exams, preventive services, radiographs, restorations, bleaching and athletic mouthguards. The dentists must apply for the privilege of being a provider and must have completed the Team Dentist Course of the Academy for Sports Dentistry,” Dr. Knowlton said. “The intent of the agreement is to partner with the medical network of Team USA to supply free regional dental care for athletes who both qualify for this and express a need and desire for dental care.”

“This is a very exciting agreement,” said Dr. Emilio Canal Jr., an ASD past president. “It shows that the USOC is taking a whole body approach and they have identified the need that for athletes to perform at their maximum capability the whole body must be 100 percent healthy and that includes the oral cavity.” ASD volunteers will provide “properly fitted custom made athletic mouthguards” under the agreement, he said. “We are not just handing out boil and bite athletic mouthguards.” See ADA's for more information on mouthguards.

The U.S. Olympic Committee invited dental participation in the health care of Olympic athletes in a May 15 letter to Academy for Sports Dentistry members and Aug. 14 announced formation of a national medical network to provide medical care to elite U.S. athletes to include orthopedic medicine, primary care, dentistry and neurosurgery.

“The purpose of this medical network is to provide convenient and quality services for elite athletes,” the USOC said. “The variety and value of services that this collaborative project will provide is a true game changer for Team USA.”

“While considering the dentistry needs of our athletes, the Academy for Sports Dentistry members appeared to be a strong fit to join the Online National Medical Network Provider Database, which offers national resources for our elite athletes,” said the invitation to ASD member participation.

The USOC network provides medical care to athletes through partnerships with providers “who have proven expertise in sports medicine,” according to the website

“This is a privilege being extended solely to members of the Academy for Sports Dentistry at this time,” Dr. Knowlton said. For more information visit the website or call 217.227.3431.

Established in 1983, the Academy is an ADA CERP (Continuing Education Recognition Program) recognized provider through April 2014.