As was reported in an earlier post by the ATDA, teledentistry has been a prime target of many state dental boards. In the case of the Georgia’s Board of Dentistry much like the case of Alabama’s Board of Dental Examiners, they have attempted to shut down SmileDirectClub’s SmileShop operations in the state arguing that digital scans taken by employees constitute the practice of dentistry and require direct supervision by a dentist. The American Teledentistry Association in its white paper on teleorthodontics has explained that digital scans of the oral cavity are nothing more than three-dimensional topographic photographs and not the practice of dentistry. As a result of this anticompetitive conduct by the Georgia Board, SmileDirectClub filed suit against the Georgia Board members.
SmileDirectClub, LLC v. Battle, et al. will also serve as a bellwether for oversight of dental boards. Currently, the Georgia Board’s amendment of its rules has potentially restricted trade for the benefit of the private interests of its members and to the detriment of patients and patient choice. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division filed a joint amicus brief Sept. 25. The FTC and DOJ have determined that the board members are not actively supervised by the governor as required by law.
The ATDA is watching this case closely as it will set a precedent for dental board oversight.