AAPD Garners Legislative Support for Expanding Patient Oral Health Access

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry


An advocacy campaign led by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) successfully garnered broad bipartisan political support within Congress to improve access to oral health care primarily for children served by the Medicaid program and for people with disabilities.


U.S. Senate and House letters were sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), applauding recent federal efforts to work with the dental community to address a national crisis related to operating room access for needed dental surgeries. Delays in such care affect a child’s ability to learn, eat, and function and result in extended illness, pain, and economic burden to patients and taxpayers. Policy makers asked that CMS work to expand access to oral health surgeries by allowing dental care to be provided in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). As of January 1, 2023, hospitals can more easily provide for needed oral health surgeries. ASCs could expand access to care sites, supporting those in need of care who reside in rural and other underserved communities.

The Health Task Force of the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD), a network of national and local organizations focused on improving health care access for individuals with disabilities, submitted a separate letter to CMS asking for urgent action in support of the AAPD’s message.

AAPD applauds legislators, particularly Representatives Drew Ferguson (R-GA) and Terrie Sewell (D-AL) and Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for their leadership in advancing these congressional letters. The Academy also recognizes CMS for actions taken to date to address this national crisis, anticipating further progress this year.

To learn more about AAPD’s advocacy efforts visit www.aapd.org.

About the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is the recognized authority on children’s oral health. As advocates for children’s oral health, the AAPD promotes evidence-based policies, best practices, and clinical guidelines; educates and informs policymakers, parents and guardians, and other health care professionals; fosters research; and provides continuing professional education for pediatric dentists and general dentists who treat children.

Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not-for-profit professional membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. Its 11,000 members provide primary care and comprehensive dental specialty treatments for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special health care needs.

For further information, please visit the AAPD website at www.aapd.org or the AAPD’s consumer website at www.mychildrensteeth.org.