The first denturists in North America were located in Canada and eventually came to the United States. British Columbia initially licensed denturists in 1958 and it wasn’t until 1977 that Maine enacted the first denturist statutes in the United States. Arizona and Oregon soon followed in 1978; Idaho in 1982 and Montana in 1984. In 1994, the State of Washington passed its’ denturism laws.
Just what was/is denturism? This was a concept whereby a dental technician, with little to no formal education in the sciences, could make dentures directly for the public. The states of Maine, Oregon, Arizona, and Idaho all followed this format for their statutory authorization of the denturist.
Montana changed the educational requirements for the denturist practitioner. In 1984, Initiative 97, The Freedom of Choice in Denture Services Act was overwhelmingly passed by the voters in Montana. This initiative called for the denturist practitioner to attend a formal educational program given at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. This was a 3 week review program and lasted for 12 hours per day. The up and coming denturist group in Washington State heard about the program and ISU gave the course 2 more times for the Washington denturist group.
About 50% of the denturists in Montana wanted more education as well as many denturists from varying parts of the United States. What turned into more education became a fully recognized and accredited educational program that required 4000+ hours of education. The outcome of this education became the Standard of Medical Denturitry and/or Denturitry Medicine and the Doctor of Medical Denturitry, D.D.M. degree. Montana became the leading advocate state for more denturist education and also became the #1 target of the American Dental Association and the Montana Dental Association. It is the duty [emphasis added] of the Montana Board of Dentistry to keep the denturists at their lowest common denominator educationally; certainly not to recognize the doctorate degree.
The Montana Board of Dentistry has steadfastly refused to recognize the Medical Denturitry Educational program offered in Great Falls, Montana and its’ accreditation, yet, fully recognizes Canadian denturist programs that copied our educational accreditation program. Who says politics are involved.
Speaking of politics – here’s how simple the explanation is: Every legislator has a dentist and it is that dentist’s responsibility to keep his/her legislator completely educated on the standing of the ADA in regards to dental or dentist legislative issues. Of course the legislator is going to respect and believe his/her legislator. How many legislators have a denturist to ask questions of? The unfortunate part of this legislative world is that the majority of issues that the American Dental Association supports do not help the consumer but rather the licensed dentists. After all, what is a UNION for? Organized dentistry likes to claim that it is protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people. We believe that is true, but the “people” that they are protecting are their licensees, not you the consumer!
Now you understand a little of who and why we, the American Academy of Medical Denturitry, are fighting your fight; your RIGHT of CHOICE.