December 16, 2004
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PDA’s Legislative Efforts Produce New Denture Labeling Law
Largely due to the advocacy of PDA, the Pennsylvania General Assembly recently passed Act 101, requiring patient identification markings on dentures and most orthodontic appliances.
PDA endorsed and supported this legislation throughout the process, with members of the association's Forensic Odontology Committee and Council on Government Relations contacting legislators to tout the benefits of the bill and urge its passage. Governor Edward G. Rendell signed the bill into law November 19.
Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Mifflin and Centre), a long-time proponent for denture identification labeling, sponsored the bill in the House. Benninghoff, a former Centre County coroner, understands the importance of this law.
"My goal with this bill is two-fold," Benninghoff said. "The first is to expedite the identification of victims of mass causalities such as fire, flooding or other traumatic events, as well as reduce the necessity for nursing home patients to have to re-purchase dentures that are misplaced and lost."
"This has been a long-time project and a passion for the forensic committee for many years," said Dr. Raymond Juriga, chair of the PDA's Forensic Odontology Committee. "And with the help of Dr. Rich Scanlon and Rep. Benninghoff's persistence, we were finally able to get this to the lawmakers and to the Governor."
The new law will benefit many people, particularly elderly patients living in nursing homes or staying in hospitals, where dentures are frequently misplaced and then recovered later with no way to determine who they belong to.
Labeling removable appliances also will expedite the identification of disaster victims who may be unidentifiable by any other means. Act 101 also could assist law enforcement officials in efforts to identify missing children.
Dr. Scanlon, of Lewistown, said the PDA members who supported this legislation have aided a great humanitarian effort.
"The big thing with the law is that this is dentistry and our members stepping up and helping people," Dr. Scanlon said. "Denture labeling can alleviate the costs and physical discomfort patients endure when appliances are lost and it becomes necessary to have their dentures remade."
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About the Pennsylvania Dental
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.