The Texas Medical Association (TMA) reports that they are fighting the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) proposed rule changes for dental treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

The association told TSBDE in a letter that TMA “strongly opposes any attempt to expand the dentists’ scope of practice through the promulgation of rules that TMA contends not only lack support in, but also conflict with, the applicable law passed by the Texas Legislature. Unfortunately, this opposition extends to the rules adopted to be effective on June 11, 2014, and the new March 18, 2016, rule proposal.”

TMA supports the Texas Medical Board’s (TMB’s) Position Statement on the Practice of Sleep Medicine and Dentists, which clearly states “the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea are the practice of medicine.”

TMA’s letter, signed by TMA President Tom Garcia, MD, and Texas Neurological Society President Deborah Carver, MD, stresses the importance of a Texas-licensed medical doctor making sleep apnea diagnoses “to protect the health and safety of Texas patients.” The letter cites the Texas Dental Practice Act, which “limits the practice of dentistry to the teeth, oral cavity, alveolar process, gums, or jaws. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, however, clearly fall outside of this scope. Sleep apnea is a medical disorder, which is diagnosed with a sleep test.”

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