Understanding American National Standards for Dental Practices

Dental equipment sitting on blue background.

American National Standards developed by the American Dental Association allow patients across the nation to receive standardized care of the highest quality.

ANSI/ADA 35-2019, for example, focuses on establishing guidelines and criteria for the acceptance testing of dental handpieces. Dental handpieces are tools that dentists use for procedures such as drilling, polishing, and cutting. This standard gives all dental handpieces a baseline standard for speed, torque, noise level, and other performance parameters.

Not only do these standards provide a high level of dental care and safety to patients, but they also help dentists strive for continuous education and learning to improve their services to the community.

Types of ANS for Dental Practices

Dental Informatics

Dental informatics focuses on the use of information technology, data management, and digital communication systems in dentistry to improve patient care, research, and practice management.

“The ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics (SCDI)” oversees this field. SCDI is tasked with developing standards that provide the interoperability of dental information so it can be efficiently and securely exchanged between different systems and dental care providers.

Dental Informatics ensure that when a patient switches from dentist to the next, their dental records, information, and images are transferred to their current provider without any flaw, error, or friction.

SCDI works to facilitate communication and data exchange by standardizing dental imaging and radiology, dental electronic health records, digital dentistry, and more. For example, ANSI/ADA 1000-2010 (R2020): Standard Clinical Data Architecture, an American National Standard developed by this committee, presents a standard logical data model and documentation for a clinical data architecture capable of supporting healthcare information systems and the interoperability of health information.

Electronic Dental Record Language

Known in professional circles by its formal name, SNODENT, the Systematized Nomenclature of Dentistry regularizes and standardizes dental terminology and a coding system.

Without a central coding system, there is no way for patients or doctors to understand or communicate dental diagnoses, care procedures, findings, and billing. To avoid confusion and chaos, standardized vocabulary strives to ensure that everyone uses agreed-upon specific terms for all things and concepts.

The SNODENT system consists of alphanumeric codes representing specific dental concepts. The code 100203D, for example, refers to an absent tooth, 132578D designates a cleft palate, and 140234D signifies poor oral hygiene.

SNODENT, which is standardized as ANSI/ADA Standard No. 2000.6, allows dentists and other professionals to use these codes to record and communicate patient data more accurately, efficiently, and effectively, providing consistency in dental records.

Standards for Dental Products

All the dental care products, tools, materials, and equipment a dentist uses in their practice are standardized and regulated by organizations like ADA.

The American Dental Association develops and publishes dental product standards that work as benchmarks for manufacturers and regulatory bodies. Every dental product manufactured in adherence to these standards follows best practices for quality, safety, and performance.

To further ensure these three parameters — quality, safety, and performance — additional bodies like FDA require all manufacturers for their dental products to be FDA-compliant so they can be marketed to and sold in the U.S. markets.

Some common dental products that ADA strives to create standards for, include:

  • Dental instruments
  • Dental implants
  • Oral hygiene products
  • Prosthodontic materials, and
  • Infection control

FDA, in addition to multiple state and federal laws, requires national dental professionals to only use FDA-approved dental products in their practice. Following ADA standards can help dentists to always have access to information and knowledge about these standardized products to protect their patients, practice, and reputation.

ISO/TC 106, Dentistry

On the international level, ADA serves as the administrator of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 106, the ISO technical committee focused on the development of international dentistry standards.

By being actively involved in these discussions and processes, the U.S. TAG ensures that U.S. interests, requirements, and perspectives are considered in the creation of international standards in dentistry. This not only facilities quality care of the highest standards on a global scale but also facilitates innovation, trade, and quality assurance in the dental care industry.

The U.S. TAG comprises eight sub-TAGs, each responsible for a particular category of international dental standards. These are:

  • Sub-TAG 1: Orthodontic & Restorative Materials
  • Sub-TAG 2: Prosthodontic Materials
  • Sub-TAG 3: Dental Terminology
  • Sub-TAG 4: Dental Instruments
  • Sub-TAG 6: Dental Equipment
  • Sub-TAG 7: Oral Care Products
  • Sub-TAG 8: Dental Implants
  • Sub-TAG 9: Dental CAD/CAM Systems

Contibuting Author: Adina Victor

Adina Victor is a design major and a freelance content marketer for logodesign.net, a website that offers professional logo design services. She believes that design is only good when it is accessible to anyone, with inclusivity and diversity at its foundation. She has dedicated her life to creating, promoting, and coaching others on all the good that inclusive design can do.

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