The Best in People

The Best in People

Kathryn Kell, D.D.S.:

ADA Tenth District Report

This summer has been tragic for many of the residents in the Midwest. The floods and tornados have affected many people, including several dentists in our area who lost their offices and some who also lost their homes. Dentists in the Tenth District have helped each other by lending equipment and office space, state associations have offered aid, and the ADA Foundation has helped with donations to give immediate funds to several dentists who lost their practices. Tough situations can bring out the best in people, and this was the time for dentists to help each other. Donations may still be accepted by your state associations, and the ADA Foundation has a fund for relief activities.

Politics and Leadership

Several meetings occurred this summer involving ADA members and those active in their associations. The Washington Leadership Conference was held in May. George Will was one of the speakers, and he gave a presentation updating the audience on the political scene in Washington and across the country. Being an election year, this was a great meeting to learn about the issues and candidates who will be elected this fall.

The Conference on the New Dentist was held in New Orleans in June. One of its highlights is a Leadership Track where young dentists share their experiences in organized dentistry and interact with the ADA officers and Board members. The ADA Board also met several times this summer and discussed many issues.

International Efforts

The ADA Board approved a new strategic approach for ADA international efforts. This new direction came as the result of several strategic work sessions held by a subcommittee of the Committee on International Programs and Development (CIPD), whose report recommended areas of focus for the ADA international approach to include membership/business development, intellectual property/standards, and humanitarian efforts.

Tooth Whitening by Non-Dentists

The Board approved an advocacy action plan for engaging the growing public safety concerns of tooth whitening services performed by non-dentists, and requested that this information be shared with constituent dental societies and other interested members of the dental community. Following up on the December 2007 mega-issue discussion on dentistry’s future relationship with medicine, the Board approved several resolutions to (1) strengthen and expand ongoing ADA dialogues with other medical organizations, (2) open discussion with the American Hospital Association about hospital-based training for dentists, and (3) collaborate with the American Diabetes Association and other appropriate organizations to update our publication Patients with Diabetes.

Update on Salivary Diagnosis

The Council on Scientific Affairs held a mega-issue discussion on salivary diagnosis, and the Board was briefed on some of the major issues raised in that discussion. The Council felt that it was important to communicate to the profession at large concerning the need to get ahead of the curve on this issue and consider the vast implications of new technologies that in the near future could allow for using saliva to screen for a wide variety of diseases, both oral and systemic. The Council concluded in their report that salivary diagnostics is a broad, complex, and spans many areas of scientific research with a great potential to impact the practicing dentist and health care in general. Although some tests are marketed now, the major impact from this technology is still in the future. Dentistry has time to develop effective strategies, goals, and objectives that will help dentists to embrace some potentially difficult changes.

Porcelain Crown PRC Testing

The Board received an update on PRC testing of porcelain dental crowns in the wake of the Chinese outsourced crowns controversy in recent months and the related media coverage. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration determined that there does not appear to be a safety concern for lead under 200 parts per million (ppm). ADA tests on crown materials are ongoing. Initial tests, performed on 36 different porcelain materials, have found lead considerably below that amount in all cases, with 113 ppm being the highest level found so far. It was noted, however, that lead content itself isn’t as important as the leaching of the lead, so PRC tests still have to be conducted to digest crowns and materials. However, researchers do not expect these tests to reveal any major safety issues if the level of lead in crowns does not exceed 200 parts per million.

Dues Stabilization

The Board reviewed preliminary 2009 fiscal year budget information and agreed to seek the approval of the House of Delegates for a dues increase which is below the annual rate of inflation and which is consistent with the Association’s long-term financial strategy of dues stabilization. The $14 increase would raise ADA dues to $512 and would go into effect on January 1, 2009. A full fiscal year budget, including the proposed dues increase, will be submitted to the Board of Trustees at the August meeting and will be presented for approval to the House at the Annual Session.

Y’All Come

Please attend the ADA Annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas in October. The scientific program, exhibit area, Distinguished Speakers Series with Tom Brokaw and Bob Woodard, along with meeting colleagues and friends, make this the best meeting in the country. Bring your family and friends and enjoy the meeting. See you there.


Please feel free to contact
Dr. Kell at the following numbers.

(563) 355-6626 (office)

563 355-7637 (fax) (e-mail


*Dr. Kathryn Kell is the Trustee to the Tenth District of the American Dental Association, representing Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.