One in Four Dentists Reject ADA Membership

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In this survey, we asked dentists if political disagreements or other differences of opinion had caused them to quite the ADA or their local dental association.

One quarter of dentists (26%) report that they have quit the ADA or another organization.

“I have thought of quitting several times over the past 35 years," wrote one dentist. "The arrogance of ADA leadership is often hard for me to live with. All of the time and money spent on the ADA headquarters building in Chicago, and yet no meaningful results in the area of universal licensure, is beyond outrageous."

General dentists were twice as likely as specialists to have quite the ADA (28% as compared to 14%).

However, two thirds of both groups say they are card-carrying members of the ADA.

The ADA does good work

  • “The ADA is the ONLY collective advocate we have. I'd rather differ on a few things than sacrifice the whole ball of wax.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “The ADA carries the banner for dentistry in the halls of power in this country – we would be lost without it.” (Michigan dentist)
  • "I don't always agree with the ADA's positions, but it is the best (and maybe the only) positive strategic voice dentistry has.” (Kansas dentist)
  • “The political part of dentistry is very important.” (Washington dentist)

Some members aren't very impressed

  • "I don't necessarily agree with their politics. I think they are antiquated!” (Hawaii dentist)
  • “I have thought of quitting several times over the past 35 years. The arrogance of ADA leadership is often hard for me to live with. All of the time and money spent on the ADA headquarters building in Chicago, and yet no meaningful results in the area of universal licensure, is beyond outrageous.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “I haven't quit, but I can't think of too many reasons why I remain a member. What do they REALLY do for us?” (Florida dentist)
  • “It's a lot of money for just a magazine subscription.” (Virginia dentist)

It all comes down to dental insurance…

  • “In California you are pretty much forced to join to get the insurance benefits. Otherwise I would quit.” (California dentist)
  • “The dental insurance business hasn't changed in decades. It's the same old same old, and it will continue to get worse! Tell all recent dental school grads to hold on to their seats and buckle up for a bumpy landing. They have no idea of the real world!” (Florida dentist)

ADA is good for dentistry

  • “The best money you can invest in OUR profession. Non-members get nearly all the benefits without having to pay, I consider part of my dues a hand-out to those poor souls. Hopefully their electric company, phone company and dental suppliers are providing them something for nothing too.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “There are always complainers. The ADA and its constituent and component organizations have benefited us all more than most dentists realize. The more involved I become in the workings of the ADA and the rest of the Tripartite, the more benefits I discover. There truly is strength in standing together. We will never be able to please everyone, but we do try to help everyone. I am proud to belong, and proud to be involved in "giving back" to improve my colleagues’ lives.” (California dentist)
  • “Why would anyone not be a member? The ADA is the voice of dentistry in all political arenas. We can do more collectively than we can
    individually.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Without ADA advocacy efforts, dentistry would be in the same sad shape as medicine.” (Ohio dentist)

Association membership should be required

  • “To not be a member of any organized dental association is like being a politician and having no comments or opinions on anything! Professionals who keep their heads in the sand and locked behind their castle walls are a danger to their patients and to themselves. There ought to be a requirement at least at the state level for membership in a recognized dental association.” (Georgia dentist)

The ADA is out of touch

  • “The ADA is a self-serving, Old School, good-old boys-network that has done NOTHING to educate the public of modern advances in dentistry, which is why I quit many years ago. My father who was a dentist also would've quit…. he said the only reason he stayed in was for the insurance, etc. offered through the ADA. He practiced for 48 years and railed on them constantly.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “ADA is a joke and an embarrassment.” (Washington dentist)
  • “Creative, innovative and bold solutions to problems requires thinking outside the box. The ADA is the box.” (California dental implant dentist)

Associations may not represent my interests

  • “I quit a local society. They wanted to use our dues for booze, and only supported hygiene scholarships in their county, and not mine.” (General dentist)
  • “The ADA seems to be most interested in promoting government and insurance company involvement in the practice of dentistry, and not the preservation of private practice care.” (Texas dentist)
  • “They are (or were) in the same building with Delta Dental, a company that gives dentists the shaft almost as regularly as the ADA does! They will
    hang us out to dry when amalgam, internal fluoride, and fluoridated water are finally outlawed.” (Idaho dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 73 respondents.

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