Dental Antitrust Suit Calls Out Certification Monopoly

CHICAGO (CN) – Contending that there is a secret dentistry cabal that monopolizes the certification of certain specialty practices, two groups dedicated to tooth implants shot back Wednesday with a federal class action.

Led by the U.S. Board of Oral Implantology and its sponsors at the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, the complaint notes that the implants practice remains one of several that has been historically denied recognition from the American Dental Association.

The ADA itself is not a party to the action. Filed by attorneys at Latham & Watkins, the challengers take aim at a group of organizations they accuse of exploiting the situation.

In 2014, the American Board of Oral Implantology and three other boards dedicated to similarly unrecognized dental specialties formed an organization called the American Board of Dental Specialties, which they held out as a “neutral, objective arbiter” of prospective specialty-certifying entities.

According to the complaint, however, the only boards that this ABDS has recognized are the four that founded it.

This bias has allegedly led to a loss in membership for competing organizations like the plaintiff USBOI.

“These are not the actions of the friendly dentist on the corner; these are the clear-eyed works of conspirators and monopolists, whose behavior harms competition, injures plaintiffs, and imperils the public trust,” the complaint states.

In addition to treble damages, the USBOI and the ICOI want a judge to order the board to consider the USBOI’s application within 30 days.

Latham & Watkins attorney Michael Lacovara declined to comment on the lawsuit. Representatives for the ABDS did not immediately respond to an email.

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