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The MDA Board of Trustees is alerting members to new developments from Delta Dental of Michigan concerning its new dental benefit plan using a "risk-based prevention model."

According to a letter sent by Delta Nov. 27 to dentists, the plan is designed to “help predict and prevent periodontal disease by identifying those patients most at risk for periodontitis.” The new plan offers only one cleaning per year unless the patient has a history of periodontal disease or, according to Delta Dental criteria, is at sufficient risk of developing periodontal disease. Patients have the option to establish this risk by completing a voluntary online periodontitis risk assessment survey and/or an oral swab risk test. Click here to view the Delta Dental letter. 

At this time, the plan is available only to employees and dependents of Delta Dental (aka Renaissance Electronic Services) beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

While the MDA has not taken an official position on the new dental benefit plan, MDA President Dr. Norm Palm said the Board of Trustees strongly believes that only a dentist has the purview to assess a patient’s risk for developing periodontal disease or other conditions, and that this assessment should occur within the context of a dentist-patient relationship with proper examination and diagnostic methods.

"We are working in collaboration with the American Dental Association and other experts to address the professional issues posed by the new dental benefit plan and to develop resources to help both dentists and their patients," Palm said. "You can expect to hear more from the MDA in this regard in the coming weeks."

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