AAPD Joins Friends of the Court Brief in Support of North Carolina Dental Board vs. FTC

On May 16, 2012 the AAPD joined an Amici Curiae (friends of the court) legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The legal brief supports the North Carolina Dental Board in seeking reversal of an FTC decision.  The FTC ruled that the North Carolina board acted in an anticompetitive manner and in violation of federal antitrust laws by issuing cease and desist orders against non-dentist entities engaged in tooth whitening services.  The FTC alleges that professional boards are inherently questionable because of their financial interest in the subject matter they are charged with regulating.

This case is a significant matter which calls into question the existence and legitimacy of all professional state dental boards in the country.  The brief argues that state dental boards, contrary to the FTC’s overreaching assertions, are acting as state agencies that are not subject to federal antitrust laws.  One of state dental boards’ main duties is to protect the public from the unauthorized practice of dentistry.  However, in an extraordinary power grab, the FTC would like to position itself as a super-regulatory body able to second guess decisions of all state medical and dental boards.  This is clearly an affront to federalism and state regulatory powers.  The brief does not take a position on the specific tooth whitening regulation of the North Carolina board.

Other organizations joining the brief were the American Dental Association (who had their outside law firm Sidley Austin write the brief), American Osteopathic Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Orthodontists, American Association of Dental Boards, and Federation of State Medical Boards.

AAPD members can click here for a copy of the brief. 

For further information contact COO and General Counsel C. Scott Litch at (312) 337-2169, ext. 29, or slitch@aapd.org.


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