Policy Publications

Dental Schools in the Community: Expanding Access to Oral Health Care Services

Across the United States, dental schools deliver high-quality oral health care to many communities. Nearly 19,000 oral health students—predoctoral, allied, and residents and postdoctoral—deliver oral health care services under the close supervision of one of the more than 6,000 faculty clinicians in dental schools across the country. The ADEA report sheds light on the revenue sources and patient demographics of dental school clinics, revealing their disproportionate roles in delivering oral health care services to individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, people of color and working age adults.

February 2024 | ADEA Policy Research Series Issue 6

Read the report. PDF

Access the online storyboard with interactive charts

Oral Health Care and Primary Health Care: Stronger Together in Recognizing and Managing DiabetesPDF

The connection between an individual’s oral health and overall health is well established in the oral health literature. Particularly, oral health diseases, such as periodontal disease, are a major complication in patients with diabetes and vice versa. This report addresses the importance of the oral-systemic link and how oral and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, benefit from a higher level of integration of primary health care and oral health care. This research also discusses dental education’s role in preparing the oral health providers of tomorrow to recognize the oral systemic link and its importance to overall health.

February 2022 | ADEA Policy Research Series Issue 5

Read the report. PDF

Teledentistry: Innovation to Improving Access and Delivery to Oral Health Care Services in Dental Education PDF

The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders accelerated the rapid expansion of telehealth and its increased utilization. Teledentistry, a subcategory of telehealth, has become a commonly accepted form of oral health care delivery, including in specialty dentistry, and has played an important role in reducing health disparities and achieving equitable health. This report outlines state regulations and reimbursement mechanisms for teledentistry, the role of teledentistry in minimizing oral health disparities through practice and dental education, and teledentistry’s compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) for the prevention and treatment of oral health diseases. This report provides educators with information about the benefits of including teledentistry in dental education and continuing to expand this important field.

October 2021 | ADEA Policy Research Series Issue 4

Read the report. PDF

Resilient Dental Schools, Better Oral Health Care for the Underserved: The Impact of the COVID‑19 Pandemic on U.S. Dental SchoolsPDF

This policy research summary report showcases the impact of the pandemic on patient visits in dental school clinics, budgets, personnel changes, and infrastructure investments made to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These key findings were captured by the ADEA COVID-19 Impact Survey of U.S. Dental Schools conducted between November 2020 and January 2021.

May 2021

Read the report. PDF

Antibiotic Overprescription: Policy Considerations For Academic DentistryPDF

Overprescription of antibiotics is a rapidly increasing public health concern. Dental educators play a pivotal role in promoting antibiotic stewardship to monitor overprescription and limit antibiotic resistance. Introducing prescription guideline policies in dental school curricula and clinics can arm dental educators with the tools to teach safe and effective antibiotic prescription guidelines to the oral health care workforce of tomorrow. This policy brief underscores pedagogical initiatives that academic dentistry can take to combat antibiotic overprescription and be a steward in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

April 2021

Read the report. PDF

Additional Antibiotics Resources. PDF

Dental Amalgam: Safety, Affordability and Utility Fact Sheet for Dental EducationPDF

Dental amalgam has been used for the last 150 years for tooth fillings, and an estimated 100 million or more Americans are beneficiaries of dental amalgam. Fifty percent of the restorative material is comprised of a metal alloy mixture of silver, tin and copper, and 50% is elemental mercury. The use of mercury in dental amalgam has raised concerns as a potential health hazard. However, studies have shown that dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and widely used dental material for teeth restoration.

February 2021

Read the report. PDF

Community Water Fluoridation
A Public Health Success Story

Community water fluoridation is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. National efforts of community water fluoridation prevent oral diseases, deliver health care savings and reduce oral health disparities. ADEA strongly supports optimal fluoridation of community water.

October 2020

View the infographic

Read the report. PDF

Additional Water Fluoridation Resources. PDF

Update on Dental Education’s Role in the Opioid Crisis: Dental Schools Take Charge in Combating the Opioid Epidemic PDF

The opioid epidemic continues to be a leading public health crisis in the United States. This data brief supplements the March 2018 ADEA Policy Brief, The Role of Dental Education in the Prevention of Opioid Prescription Drug Misuse, and presents the overarching findings of the ADEA Opioid Dental School Survey.

March 2020

Read the report. PDF                            

Diversifying the Dental Workforce and Maximizing Community Care: Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) 2006–2015

This report provides a brief discussion of dental school applicant and enrollment trends by race/ethnicity. Dental provider shortages in underserved geographic areas are also explored, along with underrepresented minority (URM) dentists and U.S. racial/ethnic population parity data. The report also highlights the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program, a program that is positively impacting the number of students interested in serving underserved communities and URM dentists entering dental school and graduating.

Published March 2018; updated November 2018

Read the report. PDF                            

Interprofessional Education and Practice—An Imperative to Optimize and Advance Oral and Overall Health

Interprofessional education (IPE) occurs when learners in two or more health professions collaborate to advance the health of individuals and communities. Established in 2009, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) has been a leader in promoting the integration of IPE activities to advance health professions pedagogy. As one of IPEC’s founding members, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) promotes the integration of interprofessional education within academic dental institutions as well as with other health professions schools and programs to improve oral health care and outcomes. In 2018, more than 82% of graduating dental seniors self-reported that interacting across the health professions during their academic careers improved their understanding of how to better care for patients. IPE allows dental students to strengthen their education while also inspiring them to serve as leaders in the promotion of collaborative practice and team-based care. 

November 2018

Read the report. PDF 

Our Future Faculty—The Importance of Recruiting Students and Residents to Academic Dentistry

The dental faculty landscape is undergoing significant change. With 2015-16 data indicating that over 40% of faculty at academic dental institutions are over 60 years old, creating opportunities and interest in academic dentistry careers has taken on elevated importance. ADEA is helping its member institutions address this issue by promoting awareness among predoctoral and allied dental students and advanced education residents and fellows of the value and importance of academic careers.

October 2018

Read the report . PDF

Intraprofessional Dental Education: Where Do We Stand?

Trends in health care practice indicate that teams produce more effective patient outcomes than individuals providing clinical care. Our task in dental education is to use this team approach to provide a framework for successful dental teams to treat oral diseases. This white paper, a collaboration among the ADEA Council of Deans and the ADEA Council of Allied Dental Program Directors, presents a summary of the 2016 ADEA Survey of Intraprofessional Dental Education and provides examples of intraprofessional dental education models to aid institutions in implanting intraprofessional education into their curriculum.

August 2018

Examining America's Dental Safety Net  

This white paper examines the persistent unmet need for dental care and outlines the contributions of dental safety net providers, including academic dental institutions, in addressing it. 

April 2018

The Role of Dental Education in the Prevention of Opioid Prescription Drug Misuse

The impact of the opioid epidemic has been felt in communities in all 50 U.S. states, and curbing the epidemic’s exponential trajectory requires special attention from dental educators. This policy brief highlights strategies that demonstrate academic dentistry’s contributions to combating the opioid epidemic.

March 2018

The ACA and Medicaid Expansion or Lack Thereof: How is Access to Oral Health Care Affected?

This white paper provides an analysis of Medicaid expansion, or lack thereof, and its effect on the delivery of dental care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

January 2016

Understanding the History and Securing the Future of Ryan White Dental Safety Net Programs

This white paper reviews the Ryan White dental programs, the populations served by the programs, the federal funding streams for oral health and the opportunities and challenges presented by health care reform.

January 2015