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Disaster strikes: Call the dentist

Sink your teeth into this: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously passed a bill this week that would include dentists as part of the federal disaster response plans.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) introduced the bill, known as the Dental Emergency Responder Act (H.R. 903). According to, the American Dental Association has for several years lobbied Congress vigorously to pass the bill.

"The vote recognizes the important role dentists have played and can continue to play in the event of national disasters," said Dr. Ron L. Tankersley, president of the American Dental Association.

"Many federal, state and local officials don't realize that medical evaluation and triage are important aspects of dentists' professional education. Following the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, dentists were among the first to triage and treat the wounded," he added. "They played a critical role in saving lives."

Bring out the toothbrushes and the toothpaste.

By Dana Hedgpeth  |  August 13, 2010; 8:11 AM ET
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