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Resource helps dentists manage the regulatory environment

June 06, 2017

By David Burger

A new user-friendly resource launched by the ADA Council on Dental Practice is designed to make it easier for dentists to become more knowledgeable about key federal regulations and help keep their practices in regulatory compliance.

This new online resource, Managing the Regulatory Environment, includes overviews of six federal agencies — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services; Drug Enforcement Agency; Environmental Protection Agency; and Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights — that enact and enforce many regulations that apply to the practice of dentistry. It is the latest module in the Guidelines for Practice Success series, which is available on the ADA Center for Professional Success website,  

The module is designed to help dentists learn more about many of the regulations they must adhere to, including those related to exposure control, OSHA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, medical waste disposal, business associates and more.

"Many practicing dentists report that knowing all of the applicable regulations and guidelines is one of the most challenging aspects of running a dental practice," said Dr. Terry G. O'Toole, chair of the Council on Dental Practice. "Dentists and their teams must comply with regulations issued by multiple agencies at the national, state and local levels. Staying up-to-date requires constant vigilance. While it may seem time-consuming, remaining current on regulatory requirements is critical as it safeguards our patients, the members of our dental teams, our practices and the environment."

"It's important for dentists to keep in mind that regulations can and do change and that any resource, including this one, presents information that may need to be updated as laws, rules, regulations and enforcement priorities shift," said Dr. Craig Ratner, vice chair of the council. "This is especially true now, as the new presidential administration has expressed interest in revising the regulatory landscape. The Council on Dental Practice plans to monitor the content and update it when activity at the federal level results in significant changes. The council sees this as one of the key benefits to this program."

In addition to recapping each agency's relationship to the dental practice, Managing the Regulatory Environment includes a number of downloadable checklists and tip sheets created specifically for this module. Members of the Council on Dental Practice and a cohort of dental consultants knowledgeable about different aspects of regulatory compliance helped to develop the module.

Managing the Regulatory Environment is available as a member benefit and can be accessed at and by logging into the ADA Center for Professional Success at

Additional resources available through the Guidelines for Practice Success series include modules on Managing Marketing, Managing the Dental Team, Managing Patients and Managing Finances. Each resource is available free online to members by searching, and print editions may be ordered through the ADA Catalog.

The print version of Managing the Regulatory Environment  will be available from the ADA Catalog in early July. To help dentists comply with federal HIPAA and OSHA regulations, the ADA Catalog also offers the HIPAA and OSHA Compliance Kits. For details, visit or call 1-800-947-4746. Use promo code 17127 before July 31 to save 15 percent on all ADA Catalog products.