American Dental Association

American Dental Association
Founded August 3, 1859 (1859-08-03)[1]
Founder William Henry Atkinson
Founded at Niagara Falls, New York[1]
Type Professional association
Legal status 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization[2]
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Carol Gomez Summerhays[3]
Kathleen T. O'Loughlin[3]
Subsidiaries ADA Foundation,
ADPAC Education Fund,
ADA Business Enterprises Inc,
American Dental Association Political Action Committee[2]
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014) $108,412,176[2]
Employees (2014)
Volunteers (2014)
Mission Committed to the public's oral health, ethics, science, and professional advancement, leading a unified profession through initiatives in advocacy, education, research, and the development of standards.[2]

The American Dental Association (ADA) is an American professional association established in 1859 which has more than 155,000 members. Based in the American Dental Association Building in the Near North Side of Chicago,[4] the ADA is the world's largest and oldest national dental association and promotes good oral health to the public while representing the dental profession.

The ADA publishes a monthly journal of dental related articles named the Journal of the American Dental Association.


The American Dental Association was founded August 3, 1859, at Niagara Falls, New York, [1] by twenty-six dentists who represented various dental societies in the United States. Today, the ADA has more than 152,000 members, 55 constituent (state-territorial) and 545 component (local) dental societies. It is the largest and oldest national dental association in the world and is committed to both the public and the dental profession.

The Association has more than 400 employees at its headquarters in Chicago and its office in Washington, D.C. The Paffenbarger Research Center (PRC), located on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, an agency of the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) and a Department of the Division of Science. PRC scientists conduct basic and applied studies in clinical research, dental chemistry, polymer chemistry and cariology, and are used by of the ADA.

Seal of Acceptance

The ADA established rigorous guidelines for testing and advertising of dental products,[5] and the first ADA Seal of Acceptance was awarded in 1931. Today, about 350 manufacturers participate in the voluntary program and more than 1300 products have received the Seal of Acceptance.

Product manufacturers are charged $14,500 for each product the ADA evaluates. For products that are approved, manufactures pay an annual fee of $3,500. According to the ADA, it does not make a profit from the program.[6]

Organizational structure

The Board of Trustees, the administrative body of the Association, is composed of the President, the President-elect, two Vice Presidents and 17 trustees from each of the 17 trustee districts in the United States. The Treasurer and Executive Director serve as ex officio members. The House of Delegates, the legislative body of the Association, is composed of 460 delegates representing 53 constituent societies, five federal dental services and the American Student Dental Association. The House meets once a year during the Association's annual session.

The Association's 11 councils serve as policy recommending agencies. Each council is assigned to study issues relating to its special area of interest and to make recommendations on those matters to the Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates.

The Association's official publication is The Journal of the American Dental Association. Other publications include the ADA News and the ADA Guide to Dental Therapeutics.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation, which operates under the auspices of the ADA, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting body for dental, advanced dental and allied dental education programs in the United States. It is also recognized by 47 individual states.

The ADA formally recognizes 9 specialty areas of dental practice: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, and oral and maxillofacial radiology.

The ADA library has an extensive collection of dental literature with approximately 33,000 books and 17,500 bound journal volumes. The ADA library also subscribes to more than 600 journal titles.

The ADA Foundation is the charitable arm of the Association. The Foundation provides grants for dental research, education, scholarships, access to care and charitable assistance programs such as relief grants to dentists and their dependents who are unable to support themselves due to injury, a medical condition or advanced age; and grants to those who are victims of disasters.


The ADA advocates several positions to legislators in the U.S. Congress. Its agenda includes funding dental research into the safety and effectiveness of amalgam and fluoride, supporting student loans and residency programs for future dentists, increased dental coverage from Medicaid and CHIP programs, reducing dental costs through reform of insurance and medical liability and through health information technology, and improving public health through water fluoridation, tobacco control, and disaster planning and response.[7]


Dudley the Dinosaur is an advertising character from the ADA. He's an anthropomorphic T. rex. He lives with his mom, little sister Dee Dee, Grandpa, and baby brother Digby. His friends are other dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures like mammoths and saber tooth tigers. He, his friends, and family teaches children how to have healthy teeth and good oral hygiene in the form of a cartoon character.

The character Dudley the Dinosaur debuted in winter of 1991 and became the nation's first bilingual (English and Spanish) public service campaign for kids. Dudley has appeared in numerous public service announcements on TV, a dozen National Children's Dental Health Month Campaigns, several coloring books and patient education booklets, four animated shorts produced by the ADA and on 2,500 outdoor billboards around the country. Dudley has won over 100 major awards, appeared on mugs and as a doll. He stars in comic books and DVDs available from the ADA.

Significant events

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "American Dental Association". Baltimore Sun. August 9, 1859. p. 4.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". American Dental Association. Guidestar. December 31, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "About the ADA". American Dental Association. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  4. "Contact Us." American Dental Association. Retrieved on December 23, 2011. "211 East Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60611-2678"
  5. "ADA Seal: General Criteria for Acceptance". American Dental Association. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  6. Jeff Donn (August 2, 2016). "Medical benefits of dental floss unproven". Associated Press. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  7. "ADA National Oral Health Agenda".
  8. 1 2 Haller, Harry. "Nation's Dentists Plan Ambitious Conclave Here". The Baltimore Sun. July 16, 1939. p. M2.
  9. "The American Dental Congress". New York Daily Times. August 6, 1855. p. 3.
  10. American Dental Association elects first woman president. (Geraldine T. Morrow) - Search results from HighBeam Research
  11. "Bio of Dr. Kathleen O'Loughlin, American Dental Association Executive Director". May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2013. External link in |publisher= (help)

External links

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