The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) & the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) have partnered to offer an accreditation program for pediatric dental practices. AAAASF has been in existence, providing accreditation in a number of settings since 1980. AAAASF’s mission of patient safety dovetails perfectly with AAPD’s longstanding commitment to optimal oral health for all children. This project leverages our shared values to create an enhanced culture of patient safety with respect to pediatric dentistry, and improve practices and preparedness that will reduce the number of adverse incidents occurring with pediatric patients. The program aims to standardize practices in accredited pediatric dentistry clinics and distinguish AAPD members from those whose practices do not follow global standards. Together we look forward to being the driving force for pediatric dental patient safety worldwide and demonstrating to patient families our unwavering dedication to the safety of their children.

Review frequently asked questions about our Pediatric Dentistry Accreditation program



What is accreditation?

Accreditation is an arms-length third-party process that assesses a facility’s compliance with global standards for safety and promotes the facility’s ongoing compliance with those standards. AAAASF programs have been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the various states that regulate office-based practices, and internationally by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare, therefore facilities accredited by AAAASF are part of a network of facilities all over the globe that have committed to and practice in the safest manner possible. An accredited facility must demonstrate compliance with all applicable standards. It must meet our strict requirements for organizational oversight, operating policies and protocols, general safety, supplies and equipment, medications, patient records, personnel, anesthesia (if applicable), quality improvement, and emergency preparedness during a thorough survey by an AAAASF surveyor. An accredited facility must be fully equipped to provide services in the medical specialty or specialties listed on its accreditation application, for which the providers must have appropriate training, and must be equipped to respond to emergencies.

This program, developed through AAPD-AAAASF collaboration, demonstrates the commitment by pediatric dentists to provide safe environments in which to treat children and is designed for practices interested in making demonstrable safety a priority in their delivery of care.

How do you achieve accreditation?

To achieve AAAASF accreditation, a facility must comply with 100% of the standards. The applicant must submit basic facility documentation with its application and is able to work with its AAAASF accreditation specialist to assist the facility in implementing any changes needed to become compliant. Once the facility believes it is ready to undergo an onsite survey, AAAASF’s scheduling team assigns a surveyor and survey date. The survey will likely produce deficiency citations indicating additional measures the facility must take to achieve accreditation. The facility will then work with its accreditation specialist, once again, to provide plans of correction and evidence of completed corrections for each citation. Once all corrective actions have been approved, AAAASF confers accreditation and the facility is entitled to prominently display its AAAASF accreditation certificate and promote its accreditation online and in other promotional materials.

Who is eligible to apply for accreditation?

Pediatric Dentistry accreditation is intended for ambulatory facilities performing the following dental procedures on pediatric patients under sedation or general anesthesia.

  • Dentoalveolar
    • Extractions
      • Simple
      • Complex
    • Dental Restorations
    • Pulpal Treatment
    • Soft Tissue Graft
    • Frenuloplasty
    • Frenectomy
  • Space Maintenance
  • Trauma
    • Hard and Soft Tissue Trauma
    • Lacerations
    • Hard Tissue Dental Fractures including Alveolus
  • Pathology
    • Hard and Soft Tissue
    • Management of Odontogenic Infection
    • Soft and Hard Tissue Biopsy

The program offers an opportunity for pediatric dental offices using any anesthetic agents from local all the way up to general anesthesia to document safe and competent delivery of anesthetic agents in the office.

What is the cost of accreditation?

  Anesthesia - Class A Anesthesia - Classes B, C-M, C
Number of Dentists on Staff Standard Rate 1st Year Discount Standard Rate 1st Year Discount
1-2 $790 $400 $1,160 $586
3-5 $1,100 $556 $1,610 $814
6-9 $3,490 $1,764 $4,210 $2,128
10+ $4,910 $2,482 $6,210 $3,234

How long does it take to become accredited after you apply?

Once your application for accreditation is complete and your floor plan is approved, the AAAASF staff can usually secure a surveyor to evaluate your facility as quickly as within 30 days, although AAAASF cannot guarantee a survey within 30 days. Historically, most facilities fully achieve accreditation 90 to 150 days after submitting a complete application.

Who performs the facility surveys?

Surveyors are dental and medical specialists dedicated to the peer-based accreditation process that gives AAAASF national and international recognition as the gold standard in accreditation. This means that another pediatric dentist or an anesthesia provider that works in pediatric dentistry will be performing the survey. In certain circumstances, some specialized surveys may be conducted by a registered nurse that practices in a pediatric dental facility. In any event the surveyor will be a peer working in the same type of setting as you.

How will accreditation benefit my practice?

Accreditation has many benefits and will help your practice:

  • demonstrate a commitment to provide safe environments in which to treat children.
  • give patients a level of assurance that you have made patient safety your top priority.
  • standardize quality measurement.
  • collaborate with other health care leaders.
  • differentiate your office from those who cannot or will not meet standards or who do not have the required training to meet the standards.
  • contribute to scholarship and academic research to quantify safety and investigate causes for adverse events
  • promote your facility in the marketplace as subjecting yourself to a rigorous examination

This process sends a clear message to patients and regulators that AAPD and the individual facility is fully committed to the safety of its patients.

What materials need to be submitted when I apply for accreditation?

  • Copy of a floor plan of the facility
  • Copy of each dentist’s State License
  • Copy of each dentist’s Board Certificate or letter of admissibility by the certifying board
  • Completed forms available from AAAASF website
    • Application
    • HIPAA Business Agreement signed by Medical Director
    • Six completed Random Case Reviews
    • Authorization to Release signed by each dentist
    • Facility Identification Form signed by Medical Director
    • Staff Identification Form
    • Facility Director’s Attestation signed by Medical Director

What makes AAAASF unique as an accreditation organization?

AAAASF is unique among accreditation organizations because we:

  • hold outpatient facilities to the highest standards.
  • require the use of qualified anesthesia professionals for deeper levels of anesthesia.
  • work closely with facilities to provide assistance throughout the accreditation process.
  • require a safe and clean care environment that meets stringent standards.
  • mandate patient safety data reporting to track data for thousands of individual cases.
  • champion patient safety worldwide and have for 40 years.
  • require 100% compliance with all standards, no partial approval
  • collect evidence of completed corrections prior to conferring accreditation, others confer accreditation upon the submission of a plan to correct