April 11, 2011
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
Pennsylvania Dental Association Installs New President
The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) on April 9 installed Dr. Dennis J. Charlton of Sandy Lake as its new president at its 143rd Annual Session. Dr. Charlton, who will serve a one-year term, said PDA has worked to improve patient access to oral health care services in Pennsylvania and he wants to continue the association’s efforts.
“Every Pennsylvanian should have access to quality oral health care as part of their overall approach to healthy living,” said Dr. Charlton. “PDA is working with the General Assembly and other health care organizations to ensure that quality oral health care is accessible, especially to those with special needs.”
For example, Dr. Charlton said, PDA recently urged state lawmakers to support legislation (House Bill 532) that would require insurance companies to cover the costs of general anesthesia for young children and patients with special needs. Dr. Charlton said many young patients and those with mental or physical disabilities often experience stress when visiting a dentist. Some patients require general anesthesia before a dentist can treat them. He said insurers should cover this necessary treatment for young patients and patients with disabilities.
Dr. Charlton said PDA is also seeking to increase funding for the state’s health care practitioner loan repayment program in an effort to attract more dentists to underserved areas in Pennsylvania. The program currently reimburses dentists practicing in underserved areas as much as $64,000 over four years. Many dental students, however, leave dental school with more than $150,000 in student loan debt. PDA supports legislation to raise the grant from $64,000 to $75,000 for dentists who agree to work in underserved areas.
Dr. Charlton also believes that adding the optimal level of fluoride to public water systems would greatly improve the prevention of dental disease in Pennsylvania. Currently, only half of the state’s public water system is fluoridated. PDA supports legislation that would require systems with 500 or more customers to add fluoride to drinking water. For the past 60 years, studies have shown that the proper amount of fluoride can reduce cavities by 20 to 40 percent. It is a low-cost way to prevent disease and reduce the need for dental procedures.
Dr. Dennis (Denny) Charlton has practiced in Sandy Lake, Pa, since 1982. He completed his dental education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Charlton has served dentistry as a PDA Council on Communication and Public Relations member, the Ninth District trustee to PDA’s Board of Trustees, chair of several task forces and committees, PDA Speaker of the House of Delegates, a member of ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs, ADA Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, ADA delegate and ADA Success Speaker.
He has been married to his wife Lynn for 38 years. They have three children; James (27) teaches in Las Vegas, Dana (23) is a second-year dental student at West Virginia University, and Eric (21), who is a Junior Art major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
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.