Professional membership organizations can be a valuable resource for the busy dental professional. There are dental societies in every state and for every specialty. General focus and national groups also exist, serving as member
advocates to government sectors, and providing opportunities for continuing education, networking, as well as other benefits. Here are summaries of and links to five of the most well-known professional dental associations:
American Dental Association
The ADA is the world's largest and oldest national dental association. It was founded in 1859, and currently represents more than157,000 members through local and state dental societies and the national organization. With
its large membership, the ADA is a powerful voice influencing policies at all levels of government and promoting oral health care and legislative initiatives. The Give Kids a Smile Day charity provides free dental care for
low-income children, and the ADA Seal of Acceptance is recognized by consumers as a symbol of safety and effectiveness on over 300 oral health products. Membership includes local and state dental society membership as well as the
national organization. In addition to being listed in ADA's online public directory, Find a Dentist, members have access to ADA sponsored insurance plans and retirement tools; continuing education is available through online
courses and at the Annual Session; state board continuing education requirements can be downloaded; there is an online ADA Library; and a variety of tools for practice management are provided in the Dental Practice Hub.
Academy of General Dentistry
The AGD is the only organization focused on serving the needs and interests of general dentists, and is the second largest dental association in the US, with a membership of more than 35,000 professionals. In addition to
government advocacy, member benefits range from patient referral through the "Find-an-AGD-Dentist" online database, to continuing education with the AGD CE Database, to networking at the Annual Meeting and Exhibits. The
association also helps with licensure renewal through its state by state customized Licensing Board Transcript. Other benefits include the AGD Career Center; patient education and marketing tools; discounts on products and
services; and insurance contract analysis.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
This is the professional membership association for the specialty of pediatric dentistry, representing 7,600 providers of primary and specialty dental care to children from infancy through adolescence. AAPD is the leading
authority on pediatric oral health care, as well as on the development of oral health policies and clinical guidelines for pediatric dentistry. Members have access to continuing education programs, newsletters and journals, and
over 1800 dental and practice management articles. Of particular interest to potential members is the Dental Benefits Service, which assists members with dental coding and third-party reimbursement issues.
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
The professional association of dental surgeons, the AAOMS has over 9,000 members across the U.S. The organization is committed to advocacy and rigorous education requirements to ensure that its members meet stringent national
standards. Member benefits include discounted subscriptions to AAOMS's Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; eligibility to purchase professional liability insurance through a sponsored company; assistance with coding,
practice management, anesthesia and credentialing matters; access to the AAOMS Career Line; and discounts on office, medical, and financial services.
American Association of Orthodontists
AAO represents dentists with the specialty of orthodontics. In addition to public marketing and education through its website, Braces.org, AAO provides its members with access to online learning, a library, webinars, and
continuing education programs. Other member resources are publications, discounted products, a career center, and daily news feeds on topics of importance to orthodontic professionals.
Though dental practitioners may rely on their respective professional associations for most of their information and support, additional resources exist to help with practice building and operations, revenue management, patient
relations and other topics pertinent to running a successful dental business.
This is a nationwide dental recruitment agency in the U.S. that specializes exclusively in matching qualified dentists with dental employers, including recent graduates. DDS Resources provides dental job candidates with
professional recruitment services for every element of their employment search.
SBA.gov - Health care
This site is the official small business link to the U.S. Government, and the Health Care page is a one-stop shopping site for many of the government regulations impacting the health care business, including dentistry. Here
you will find links to EPA's regulations on environmental compliance; DOE's energy solutions for health care facilities; HHS' National Practitioner Data Bank; and OSHA's regulations for workplace safety in health
An online version of the magazine by the same name, this website keeps dental professionals abreast of the latest dental news, including new products and worldwide events. Featured articles from the print magazine can be
downloaded for free.
Run by a well-respected publishing group, this online resource not only has the usual marketplace and blogs, but also provides free content on practice management and clinical issues. Up-to-date industry news is on the home
page, free e-newsletters are available for subscription, and continuing education podcasts, webinars, and books can be purchased.
CDC.gov - Division of Oral Health
The Center for Disease Control's Division of Oral Health is responsible for improving the oral health of the nation. Information is provided on State oral health programs; HHS community water fluoridation regulations;
infection control in dental settings; dental sealant information; and other timely topics that are pertinent to the dental community.