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Policies and Guidelines

The National Commission serves the public and the profession by providing transparent and object review of the recognized dental specialty sponsoring organizations, the recognized certifying boards, potential applicants for specialty recognition and the National Commission’s communities of interest. As such, the National Commission publishes its Policy and Procedure Manual that contains background information on the creation of the National Commission, including specialty recognition actions taken by the American Dental Association prior to the creation of the National Commission. In the downloadable document below, dates following policies refer to the dates of the National Commission action to adopt, revise or reaffirm said policy. 

The National Commission expects that all organization and individuals bringing business in front of the National Commission will act with integrity and decorum, maintain confidentiality and demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times. 


Certain materials generated and received by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards are confidential and must not be improperly disclosed. The National Commission’s confidentiality policies apply to the National Commission, the National Commissions’ Review and Standing Committees and the Appeal Board. Confidential materials are maintained to ensure the integrity of the specialty recognition process, and may be shared by the National Commission in instances related to the responding to state or federal legal requirements, as appropriate. Confidentiality applies without limitation, to the following:

  • Specialty Recognition Applications
  • Protected Health Information 
  • Surveys
  • Meeting Materials and Discussions
  • Meetings

Additionally, confidentiality applies without limitation to the information contained in the Policy on Confidentiality Policy, with can be downloaded below.


The National Commission expects that integrity and decorum be exhibited by all organizations and individuals throughout the recognition process and maintenance of recognition. It is expected that any individual or organization bringing business in front of the National Commission, demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times. Specifically interested parties must refrain from engaging in making disparaging and/or unprofessional comments about other organizations and/or individuals. By seeking recognition and/or maintaining recognition, all organizations agree to comply with National Commission requirements, policies, guidelines, Requirements for Recognition, decisions and requests.

Periodic Review Policy

The National Commission will conduct periodic reviews of dental specialty education and practice at ten-year intervals. The periodic review will aid the National Commission in gathering strategic information that will be of value to the National Commission, the profession and the public. This review focuses on the current environment; changes occurring with the specialty education and practice environments (e.g., disease trends, technology, scope of practice, program enrollments); potential trends for the future; and how these may impact the public and the profession.

Request for Change in Name, Definition or Scope of Practice Policy

When a recognized dental specialty wishes to change any or all of its name, definition and or scope of practice, the recognized specialty sponsoring organization and associated recognized certifying board must submit a written request to the National Commission. The request will be considered by the Review Committee on Specialty Recognition with a final recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. A fee will be associated with the application. Prior to any final decision, the National Commission reserves the right to solicit a sixty (60) day public comment period on any requested changes for the benefit and protection of the public and the other recognized dental specialties.

Please contact the National Commission office for the fee schedule.

Withdraw of Recognition Policy 

Based on the Rules and authority granted to the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, the National Commission has the authority to withdraw specialty recognition from any sponsoring organization or certifying board recognized by the Commission that fails to comply with the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists and/or policies of the National Commission. 

Voluntary Discontinuance of Recognition

The National Commission becomes aware of a recognized organization’s decision to voluntarily discontinue its recognition with the National Commission when it receives official notification from the sponsoring organization and or certifying board’s executive director.

Because voluntary discontinuance of recognition, specifically, of a sponsoring organization has an impact on the composition of the National Commission as outlined in its Rules, the discontinuance of recognition will become effective at the close of the American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates meeting in the ensuing year. Voluntary discontinuance of a recognized certifying board will become effective on the date determined by the certifying board, with final approval by the Board of Commissioners.