Content Dam Diq En Articles Apex360 2017 07 Us Fifth Circuit Court Affirms Earlier Ruling On Commercial Free Speech For Aaid Asda Aaom And Aaop Leftcolumn Article Thumbnailimage File

US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirms ruling on commercial free speech for AAID, ASDA, AAOM, and AAOP

July 11, 2017
Earlier this year, a US district court court ruled that dentists in Texas could advertise themselves as "specialists" in areas such as implantology, despite a Texas law prohibiting them to do so. The case raised questions about the nature of dental specialties as defined by the American Dental Association. Learn more about an appellate court's ruling on the case here.
On June 19, 2017, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld and affirmed an earlier decision by the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas regarding restrictive advertising rules for dentists. Plaintiffs in the case—the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists, American Academy of Oral Medicine, and American Academy of Orofacial Pain—contended their First Amendment rights of commercial free speech to advertise as dental "specialists" were unreasonably restricted by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Texas state law held that dentists could only lawfully advertise as "specialists" for specialties officially recognized by of the American Dental Association (ADA). The federal appellate decision affirms an earlier overturn of Texas state statutes.

Jurisdiction of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals includes Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. At this time, it is unclear if defendants will seek appeal to the US Supreme Court. It is also unclear how this ruling may influence similar restrictive advertising disagreements, such as a current case being argued before the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and a petition before the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry.

To date, the ADA has not issued a public statement on the federal appellate decision, nor offered comment on the possibility of an expansion of its recognized dental specialty areas.

Links to court cases and petition

The full June 19, 2017, ruling by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals may be found here (PDF).

The restrictive advertising complaint filed April 7, 2017, in US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana may be found here (PDF).

The March 2, 2017, restrictive advertising petition put before the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry may be found here (PDF).


United States District Court ruling sets stage for expansion of 'dental specialties', practitioner independence from ADA restrictions

Michael W. Davis, DDS, maintains a general dentistry practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He chairs his district dental society peer review committee and is involved in state dental association issues. He is also active with consultation and expert witness work for a variety of attorneys. Dr. Davis may be reached at [email protected] or on his website,

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