The Inevitable Death of the American Dental Association

I’ve had this discussion online (Dentaltown) a number of times.  I’ve also discussed it with local colleagues who remain active in the ADA.

the-prezA bit of history, first.  I joined the ADA while in dental school.  I remained a member since then, until several years ago.  I served on the board of the local affiliate dental association for many years and made it all the way to President.  At one time, I had dreams of taking my dental political career even higher… much higher.  I wanted to be “part of the solution.”  But, I ran into brick walls all the way.  The Association steadfastly believes that we must kowtow to the political authorities under the guise of “being at the table.”  I long-contended that we need to STAND UP.  I was often excoriated with a dismissive attitude.  I was a “hot-head.”  I was being “irrational.”  I was told, “If we don’t sit at the table with them, they will ‘do it’ without us.”   Do WHAT?  They can’t do shit WITHOUT us.  Without us, they have no dentistry.  We are holding the cards!  No one owns the talents of another.

If I recall correctly, it’s been about 10 years since I dropped my ADA membership.  And, while I keep looking for a reason to rejoin, the Association never fails to reaffirm my decision to leave.

I have always believed that our Association should stand up for DENTISTS first and foremost.  Yet, it seems a significant faction of our leaders at the national level are closely aligned with insurance companies and what is now called, “corporate dentistry.”  The local associations are typically top-heavy with specialists.  The ADA does NOT have the interest of general dentists at heart.  Naturally, they have an interest in “selling” us continued membership that perpetuates their existence.

While the ADA will argue at length that they DO have our interests at heart, the proof is in the pudding.  Rather, they continually regurgitate talking points about “access to care” like good little political sycophants.  They prove their allegiance and fealty to the powers that be with self-flagellation on our behalf.  They endorse the notion that WE are the problem.  WE are the reason for the fictitious political football known as the “access to care problem.”

shipwreckWord on the street is that the Association is hemorrhaging membership at both the local and national levels.  Some of my online colleagues lament, “you’re giving up.”  No.  We’re not giving up.  We’re TIRED.  We’re tired of the same old shit year after year.  We can’t, in good conscience, continue to support an Association that refuses to support us, refuses to LISTEN to us, and refuses to ACT on our behalf.

Honestly, we just don’t care much about pushing communities to fluoridate the water supply.  We laugh at the articles published in JADA, such as the recent article about whether certain racial groups get seen for dental emergencies in emergency rooms with the same priority as others.  Really?  This is what you think is relevant to my practice?  This is what you think I’ll find interesting?  What is your agenda, REALLY?

We care about the undue influence insurance companies have on the doctor-patient relationship.

We care about being able to practice ANYWHERE in the United States without having to jump through turf-protective hoops.  We are the ONLY health care professionals that have to take ANOTHER regional or state board if we want to move.  Yes… we know that you can’t actually “do anything about it.”  But, you CAN make a STAND.  You CAN state a POSITION.

We care about the “corporatization” of dentistry.

We care about the increased push for socialized health care.

We care about the fact that participation in any federal or state program (“access!”) puts us in dire legal jeopardy and requires us to quite literally relinquish our Constitutional Rights.

We care about the growing trend of so-called “dental therapists” being licensed to practice dentistry.

We care that our ability to serve our patients with ONLY their interests at heart will be interfered with by third parties including insurance companies and even our own government.

We care about educating the general public about the benefits of today’s dentistry.  The ADA has been WOEFULLY derelict in its duty to promote dentistry to the public.  Got teeth?

We want the ADA to GROW A PAIR.

Are you listening, ADA?  No.  You’re not.  My own local Association leaders have, for the most part, blackballed me, as I am so outspoken.  They view me with derision and contempt.  I take it as a compliment and confirmation that I’m on the right track.

hari-kariThe ADA will fall on its own sword, as it refuses to listen to those of us who have left the Association.  Instead of seeing it as an OPPORTUNITY to learn and GROW, they rest easy believing that WE have “quit” on them… that we have “given up.”  Their acolytes continue to “vurp” up the argument that the Association is our “only voice.”  It’s the WRONG voice!  I’d rather they either SHUT UP or sit down and figure out what they SHOULD be saying on our behalf.

But that’s not all.  If you join now…

Just last week, I got an email from the ADA intended to entice me into rejoining.  I wish I was making this up, but their “offer” was truly laughable.  They offered “FREE” membership!  But, there was an asterisk next to “FREE.”  The fine print read that normal 2014 dues would be charged.  So, that means the offer is for 3 weeks of “free” membership!  LOL!  Three whole weeks of all the wonderful “benefits” of the ADA should surely gain new members!  I mean… how could anyone turn down such a generous offer?   Puh-leeze!

Members… meet bus.

ADA-busRecently, the Colorado Dental Association urged its members to “Take Five” (Medicaid families).  It’s nice that the CDA has seen fit to throw its own members under the bus.  First, by this silly platitude of “Take Five,” they are implying that their own member dentists are uncaring.  Furthermore, they are asking their members to risk their very livelihoods (and possibly freedom) by taking Medicaid.  As soon as you sign that Medicaid contract, you are giving up your Constitutional Rights.  A mere suspicion of wrongdoing can lead to forfeiture of your practice and everything you own.  And, this will happen BEFORE due process.  Yet, the Association is encouraging their dentists to take these risks rather than advocate for reducing the risks of participation.

Isn’t it lovely that the Association can claim the moral high-ground while throwing DENTISTS under the bus when the shit hits the fan?

Familiarity breeds contempt.

My local association has a rule about speakers for the monthly meetings.  Local dentists (even members) are NOT allowed to present or speak at their own meetings.  The speaker MUST be from out of town.  When I was on the board, I HAD to ask WHY?  The reason (and I’m not making this up):  Other dentists will get jealous that the speaker will gain some sort of advantage or favor in terms of referrals!  No shit.  Never mind that in my county, we have a BEVY of nationally and internationally known speakers.  But, noooooooo….  We have to fly in the shill for the “gum-pocket-chip” to spend an hour telling us that their product will reduce pocketing by an average of 0.5-mm.

Red pill or blue pill?

The ADA has a CHOICE.  They can either remain on their current course and cling to all the false reasons members are jumping ship.  Or, they can STOP, get a little introspective, and TALK to those of us who have left.  Your move, ADA.

UPDATE:  They’re watching me / us!  See:  The ADA…. They’re Watching Me…. They See My Every Move.

Update #2:  Why Can’t the ADA Be More Like the NRA?

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43 Responses to The Inevitable Death of the American Dental Association

  1. Jason says:

    Don’t you want to protect your Florida turf? You can’t be in favor of a national board.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      I am absolutely in favor of nation-wide reciprocity… just like brain surgeons, optometrists, nurses, podiatrists, veterinarians, and all other health care professionals. We are the ONLY ones that have to prove ourselves… AGAIN… any time we want to move…. with a clinical board on live patients. It’s truly insane and un-American.

  2. Ken says:

    Excellent article!

  3. Mark Bourcier DMD says:

    Right on the money, Mike.

    I’m sorry to say that if you scratched out “ADA” and replaced it with “the Republican party” many of the same criticisms would apply. Time for the Tea Party to become a real political party. The Republicans are more concerned with being P.C. and having a seat at the (banquet) table than representing us.

  4. Michael says:

    I got my 2014 ADA dues in the mail. I throw it away. I bought some bone grafting material with what my dues would of been.

    I’ll stay in the AGD but I am done with the ADA for many reasons Mike stated.

  5. D says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. I just had to jump through numerous hoops at ridiculous costs just to get a license in another state, while trying to escape the insurance inundated market of SoCal.

  6. Tom Hadley says:

    I can’t join my local dental society without paying ADA dues. It sucks.

  7. A says:

    You make some extremely good points. Sounds like a manifesto for a new dental organization to me.

  8. Mike Rice, DMD says:

    Sigh. Unfortunately, I have to agree with everything you’ve said. If Mike isn’t a dental visionary, I don’t know who is.

    I also left the ranks of ADA membership about 4 years ago. An insurance company was pushing me around, and no one at the state or national level would help me. The reason that they gave was that “it isn’t affecting any of our other members, so we can’t utilize our resources (pronounced “spend any money”) on it. Good luck!”

    In this months Pennsylvania Dental Journal (I believe), the publication of the Pennsylvania Dental Society, there is an article about this same insurance company doing exact the same thing that they did to me to so many other Pennsylvania dentists that they had to write an article about it!

    Who authored the article? TGE INSURANCE COMPANY!!!!

    It basically explains how they decide who they are going to pick on: those if us who are “outside TGE norm”. Really? So you want to hassle the top 5% of dentists, exclusively? What do you do about the 5% who are “outside the norm” on the low end? I’m guessing nothing, right?

    TGE article even states that the statistics are analyzed and reviewed, and I quote, “to determine if a positive change has occurred”. Positive for whom?? The patient? No. The dentist? No. There is only one other party involved – guess who?

    I could go on and on, but the point is that the ADA and PDA did absolutely squat about this 4 years ago, and it is getting worse. How do I know?

    Well, I had made some poor business decisions, but when this particular insurance company put me “under review”, since they were and are the major insurer in my area, I had to go out of business. I sold out to a group, and work for them now.

    The kicker? The group practice is now…….wait for it………..”UNDER REVIEW”!!!!!

    I am an active AGD member, and I will continue to be so. I also received the ADA mailing offering “FREE MEMBERSHIP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!!!” Whoop de freaking do!!! The only “benefits” we get are “discounts on car rental” and free Care Credit mailers 4 times a week for life. I just don’t see the value in it. I don’t see ANY value in it.

  9. Jason Battle says:

    You can get reciprocity in many states. Where do you want to move, someplace with better hockey? 😉

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Not good enough, Jay. We should be able to practice in ANY and ALL states, just like physicians, nurses, optometrists, and podiatrists.

  10. Fred Joyal says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Mike. And along with your keen perspective, let me give you the vendors’ view of the ADA. Let’s just take this years’ annual show in New Orleans. It started on Halloween, making it the worst attended ADA in 25 years. Because of course, what young dentist or team member can leave home to go to a convention on Halloween? Then they sent an email to their members ahead of time warning them of the dangers of walking the streets of New Orleans. (Reason #2 to stay home.) And then, because the exhibitors hadn’t been screwed over enough, they shut down the exhibit hall at 3pm on Saturday, even though all the classes ran until 4:30. People were walking out of their sessions wondering what happened to the exhibits. Also, the conference date was moved to two weeks later than usual, essentially making it only three weeks from the Greater New York show.
    Repercussions to the ADA? None. They still got all their money from the exhibitors. Repercussions to exhibitors? Somewhere between a waste of time and a devastating loss of revenue, depending on who you were.
    But the ADA will fix it by going to San Antonio next year, which has virtually no non-stops flights from anywhere in the country. Can’t wait.
    The show is totally unnecessary. There are many state and regional shows that serve the same purpose. It’s just a huge revenue stream for the ADA, which is used to achieve…the opposite of what most dentists want, per your post.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Fred,

      The exhibitors should just walk away. That’s what they did for a HUGE annual “Outdoors” show in Pennsylvania last year. This was shortly after the Sandy Hook murders, and the show’s organizer made a new rule that the exhibitors could not display any modern sporting rifles (aka “evil black rifles”). Well, the exhibitors said bye-bye and pulled out of the show only a couple weeks before it was to go on. The exodus was so massive (and included vendors that did not sell guns) that the show was cancelled. It resulted in an estimated $80 Million loss for the local community. And, the organizers ended up losing the show altogether.

      It can be done.

  11. Arturo R. garcia says:

    Mike, you hit all of the nails on the head! You described, to a T, all of the ills and deficits of the ADA. Unfortunately, you also correctly described their unwillingness to do anything differently in their efforts to “serve their membership”.

    IMO the ADA is NOT interested in “serving” their membership. They are only interested in trussing up (restraining) their membership like a chicken ready to be served for the dinner party they are throwing for political organizations, insurance cos and DMSO’s . Makes it much easier to cook it evenly.

  12. Mike Rice says:

    Tripartite membership is nationwide, to my knowledge. National, state, and local are an all-or-none package.

    With Mike and Fred Joyal involved, you could probably get Howard Farran involved, and start the “American Dentist’s Society”, and no, I’m not joking. I know that name wouldn’t fly, but why can we not join together to actually represent the interests of the professionals instead of some political agenda.

    I work with another dentist that has an astronomical IQ, I’m assuming way above mine, and he has been toying with the idea of forming a group of some kind to negotiate with insurance companies in order to get better reimbursements and to change some of the language in the contract that we have to sign to be a “participating provider”. He also said that we could purchase health insurance as a group, etc. I don’t know much about the legalities and such, but it sounds good to me. Why should we be prevented from negotiating as a group? Others do it, right? Why can’t we?

  13. Chris Esposito says:

    Can’t agree more! As a young dentist it is hard
    to find your way and the ADA is of no help. I have been to meetings at the local level and just can’t get comfortable. It is an unfortunate state of affairs in our profession.

  14. Darrell Pruitt says:

    From what I can tell, here are three important issues driving away ADA members:

    1. The risk of expensive FTC lawsuits – initiated by insurers who are immune from FTC lawsuits – leaves ADA officials incapable of even discussing the sleazy business practices of Delta Dental, UnitedHealth, Humana and other dentalcare parasites – much less protect uninformed dentists and patients from inevitable harm caused by colluding members of the NADP who uniformly pay dentists less and less for their time. In addition, insurers and the ADA exchange employees like DNA in a small town.

    2. In the address of the ADA’s newest president, he promises to further isolate the ADA from the community by centralizing power, while increasing the not-for-profit’s non-dues revenue to 65% – effectively cutting practicing dentists’ ownership to 35%. Not unlike the AARP, sales of products to membership is the career bureaucrats’ hedge against the resultant loss of dues-paying members. Loyalty goes to those who pay ADA salaries – not necessarily dentists.

    3. The pious, unresponsive and unaccountable good ol’ boys don’t have to listen to nobody… So they don’t.

  15. Kim Gandhi says:

    Mike, I agree with a lot of what you say as well. I also served on all the boards and am one of the evil specialists. When I was on the boards we couldn’t get anybody(general dentists) to take the job. As it turns out they were smarter then we were as despite good intentions and effort, nothing changed. You are complaining about the ADA, well I have the same gripes with the AAP. A bunch of old guys doing nothing to protect their members.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Kim! Thanks for chiming in. I think specialists are more likely to participate on the boards, as they probably expect it will give them exposure to potential referrals.

  16. Cletus says:

    Saddest part of the situation, is the ship already sailed. Many years ago.

    My dental school dean was the president of the ADA long ago. When he started his term he did so with a full platform of ideas and changes and actions he had come up with to do during his service. He said things that some didn’t like, did some things some liked and accomplished 70% of what he set out to do. It was his administration and executive actions that were the success of the organization. Key concept — they were HIS ideas and changes and advancements.

    Fast forward to today’s ADA leadership. When the president takes office the entire year’s agenda is planned for him. All platforms on all issues and all ideas are planned by some sort of steering committee of bureaucrats who never worked in a dental office in their lives. All the decisions are made behind closed doors by non-dentists; the officers who are elected by dental delegates are only figure heads. Dentists have no say in the day to day matters or in the long term planning and policy decisions.

    The ADA is no longer a dental organization. And they act like it. Until that changes the trip in the handbasket will continue to get hotter and hotter.

  17. A very interesting and insightful discussion. Speaking of poor selection of dental meeting host cities, how do you think the AGD Annual Session in Detroit will be received?

  18. Fantastic article. The tough part is getting groups of dentists to agree on anything, especially the formidable challenge of taking on the Goliath insurance companies. More dentists than not probably agree with your stated issues, but lacking central support from any organized group that actually “has our backs”, we just keep plugging along trying not to rock the boat, so that we are not the ones to individually fall out and drown. It is shameful actually, to just keep taking it on the chin as we do. The hardest step is overcoming the fear and resolving to place that rock in the sling, to take aim, and to just let er rip! Keep fighting the good fight! Brian

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      True. One of my favorite aphorisms about dentists is, “The only thing two dentists will agree on is that the third dentist is an idiot.”

      Another: “If dentists were asked to form a firing squad, they’d stand in a circle.”


  19. wade pilling says:

    Early in my career my state ADA really pushed us hard to start taking medicaid. I had a brand new office with high overhead. I was not in a position to accept it in my office. The local leaders said if we didn’t solve the access to care issues ourself then the gov’t would step in so we all need to step up. In order to help out me and another doctor started a low cost dental clinic with really low overhead that could service medicaid patients. Our local leaders encouraged us and said it would be a great idea to help the medicaid patients. Me and the other doctor paid for everything. We each worked there once a week. Our hope was that it would make enough to pay the debt and keep people employed as well as fulfill the task the state ADA was requesting of us.

    A couple years in, the State decided to cancel contracts with the top 70% of providers in the state. Sent out 30 day notices that we would no longer be providers. The governor felt that too much money was going to dental care in the state. We were suddenly being faced with a practice, debt, and zero patients. We contacted our local ADA organization that encouraged and pressured us to start this practice. They said they didn’t feel this was an important issue to get involved with.

    I took to the media using my news connections to go after the policy decisions of our governor. It was election time. I smeared the governor about his decision to drop the top providers in the state. He began to feel the pressure in the media from me and others. We even got a question about the issue in a televised debate and had his opponent well prepared for the question while the governor was left looking brainless. The local ADA leadership was emailing me asking me not to pressure this issue in the media as they felt it would burn a bridge with the governor if he won the election. They were worried about losing their seat at the table. They were playing both sides.

    The governor quickly reversed his decision. The ADA was there at the announcement taking credit. They then sent out a recruitment letter claiming the victory was because of an organized state ADA. I wasn’t even a member. I can’t see myself ever being part of a group like that.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      That’s an amazing story, Wade. How sleazy for the ADA to ask you to back down and then take credit for your success (after you didn’t back down).

  20. I agree with most of what you said……..passionately. Unfortunately when you dropped the ADA(I hope not AGD!) you lose a lot of venues for you to make change. Though the ADA I have sat in many representatives and senators offices in Tallahassee. I was free to speak on any subject…even if it was counter to official ADA/FDA policy. I do agree that the ADA should mostly be focused on its members.

    I agree that if no one signed up for a PPO, they would not exist. We rarely flex muscle and I get upset about this as well.

    Interestingly enough, when it comes to state exams, you are lockstep with AAOMS, Pew, Kellogg, and Corporate Dentistry. The reason is fewer barriers to attain employee dentists. It helps the “business of dentistry”. Politics are complicated. Every dentist who has paid his dues and supported PAC’s is also helping those that pay nothing. There really was a bill in Florida where a physician was going to oversee dental practices. The FDA got it thrown out. This sort of thing happens more often than you would imagine. So without our lobbyists in the ADA/FDA we could be reacting to what became law on a blog….well after the fact.
    We have the same type of practice…..and unfortunately it is becoming more unique. The pressure is on from government, insurance, corporate dentistry, an entitlement society etc. Mike, you have tremendous talent in writing(and I appreciate the time you put into it), I hope you try to use it in other formats other than this… send it to the ADA, AGD, Gov. Officials etc.
    Membership in the ADA is a lot more complicated than saying they are not representing a middle aged private practitioner and I am taking my ball and going home. It has a lot to do with economics and the changing demographics of who is a dentist. Corporate dentists have all their needs taken care of by the mother ship. In South Florida, there are dentists from different countries where it is not part of the culture to be a ‘joiner”. With more women dentists, there are more part time dentists. These are all realities and it shows up in ADA participation. In places like the panhandle or the Midwest(more homogenous) participation is very high.
    Great dialogue and I enjoy your blogs.

    Btw, some of my best friends in the profession I have met through the FDA. They think just like you. Sadly, there is just not enough of them.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Larry,

      Thanks for chiming in. I know you’ve been very involved in “organized” dentistry. I was, too. So, I don’t see dropping out as “losing venues to make change.” Again.. not only was I a member… I was on the board of the local affiliate all the way to President. So, I AM familiar with the vagaries and politics of organized dentistry. I was more than a member. I was active in the “process.” And, it didn’t work. I tried. I tried for MANY years. It was an exercise in futility.

      Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. So, no… after that many years being very involved to no avail, I do not agree that the answer is to get involved AGAIN.

      Nope…. I think I can do more from the OUTSIDE. And, from the outside, I will continue to point out the ADA’s follies, foibles, and flaws. When the ADA changes its tune, I’ll rejoin. But, I feel confident they don’t want me back. I’ve TORCHED my bridges. 🙂

      I do find it mildly amusing that whenever we point out MAJOR shortcomings in the ADA, their supporters will come up with examples of minor victories. A few notable accomplishments does not diminish or negate the fact that on major issues, the ADA tries to play both sides and ends up throwing us under the bus. Go up a few comments and see how they treated my friend, Wade, when it came to Medicaid participation. The ADA could be shitting gold bullion, and it wouldn’t make up for what they do wrong.

  21. Darrell Pruitt says:

    “Unfortunately when you dropped the ADA, you lose a lot of venues for you to make change.”

    That rumor is simply untrue, Dr. Sutton. Very few ADA members have any power at all.

  22. Dr. Sutton, I’m sorry to say I feel your comments are spoken like a true politician and company man. I, too, am a middle aged practitioner that feels inadequately represented and so have chosen to separate from “organized” dentistry. I still practice with the same convictions, ethics, integrity, and compassion as I did when I was an ADA member. God willing, every young dentist will someday be a middle aged practitioner and hopefully will be able to see the true issues clearly. These issues truly effect all doctors, and if the grass roots movement can’t get the ball rolling in the right direction, by the time future generations of practitioners become middle aged, there will be no other options available. If you finally wise up and determine, for example, that corporation dentistry isn’t what you thought, there will not be an attractive private sector alternative left. Everyone will be stuck. Sometimes these blogs are necessary to shed light on the true pulse of dentistry and I feel more good can potentially come out of this forum than a hundred letters written to the ADA. Keep fighting the good fight, Mike. Brian

  23. Mike Rice says:

    I am a middle aged Caucasian corporate dentist. I really don’t think the ADA has to be 100% aligned with what would be best FOR ME in order for me to once again become a member. If they would represent the issues that affect ALL of us, I would be the first one to sign back up! For example, insurance limitations, governmental regulation, etc. How about some PUBLIC EDUCATION so that I don’t have to waste my breath over, and over, and over, to teach new patients the same thing over, and over, and over. Imagine how much more good we could all be doing if the dental IQ of the average patient was higher. Maybe we wouldn’t have to argue about “soft teeth” anymore, and we wouldn’t have to hear about the previous dentist putting his knee on their chest during an extraction. Maybe we could actually spend more time building value and building relationships with our patients.

    Also, how about the annual maximum increases every five years, at least at the rate of inflation? How about truth in advertising and sales, so that the policy holders would actually understand their policies instead of fighting with us about everything? Perhaps a mandatory annual mailing to each policy holder, explaining in plain language, what is covered, at what rate, and for how much, in addition to what the patient responsibility is, in layman’s terms? How about the ADA tells the public that insurance coverage has everything to do with the employer and nothing to do with the dentist, so we aren’t accused of being “greedy” because “I never had to pay my last dentist. He just took what the insurance gave him.” What the insurance GAVE him? Really? There is so much wrong with tgat statement that I don’t even know where to start!

    Perhaps I’m a bit obsessed with the insurance issue right now, and that’s because I’m fed up with being pushed around by the insurance industry. Maybe if the ADA was representing what is in the best interest of dentists and dentistry I would be a member. Instead, they are in bed with the insurance industry.

    If I’m wrong, prove it. I’m listening. Are those crickets I hear??????

  24. Mike Rice – well said. I feel that the issues with insurance reimbursement and all that goes with it are most likely the number one concern facing all practioners. There are a small percentage of practices that are insulated from these problems, but for most of us in the trenches, it is hugely problematic. The problem is two-fold: people in general do not value our services, and the insurance product offered to people is woefully inadequate in providing benefits that align with the real world of dental care.

    What complicates this even more is that insurers have insidiously convinced the masses that what they offer is “good” and that we are the ones that are off the mark. This perpetuates a further wedge into the doctor-patient relationship.

    Mike, you are correct in saying that if there was more patient education and support for us at the central level, as well as a strong voice against this rising tide, we would have more time to build relationships. Also, more doctors would probably join or re-join the ranks of the ADA. But for now, instead of filling out an ADA application form, I have to write another report to MetLife as to why a tooth with 90 percent amalgam that is failing needs a crown.

  25. laraffinee says:

    I actually replied and filled in the forms and sent them to the ADA for that offer of free membership until the end of the year.

    WHAT A JOKE! …a month went by…..I didn’t hear anything….I finally called the ADA last week and was told that it can take a month or TWO to process the membership…..(are you kidding me?). I pointed out how ridiculous this offer was, and only had silence from the rep then was told THAT IT WAS BEING HELD UP A THE STATE LEVEL AND I SHOULD CALL MY STATE REP.

    SO, I called my state rep. She hemmed and hawed and said it REALLY WAS BEING HELD UP AT THE ADA.

    OH COME ON PEOPLE! This is a scam.

    Fine….I didn’t lose anything in this little exercise, but I did learn what a bunch of BS that campaign was. I was offered membership for $1340 or something like that.

    I quit the ADA 20 years ago, when the ADA told me they washed their hands of National licensure. I am a specialist and my husband was offered a great job in a state that I did not have license in and would require taking a board exam in general dentistry. Yes, I know I could have done all that and gotten a license in that state, BUT it all seemed like a bunch of political nonsense to me, and I washed my hands of them. Fortunately he found a even better job in a state I was licensed in.

    A SEAT AT THE TABLE? Those seats are reserved for a few who either persevere up the political ladder, or have cronies to help them up.

    For anyone wondering why I took up that ADA “offer” – I wanted to join the AAE, I am an endodontist and I would like to join the AAE WITHOUT being FORCED to join the ADA as well. The ADA doesn’t represent me, Giving them my money would only perpetuate their agenda. The ADA was there through out all of this transition from mostly fee for service practices when I started, to the insurance mess that is going on now. What did they do all these years?

    That old boys club is not going to get my money.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for sharing your story! What a joke, eh?

      And, you bring up another important issue, which is why a specialist would be required to take a GP board examination. Utterly stupid.

      And, you have to join the ADA to join your specialty’s association? Crazy.

  26. Joseph Ferraro DDS says:

    We need better negotiation with insurance carriers, who create third party communication breaks with our patients. My daughter’s dental insurance plan with delta, will pay 100% for amalgams yet only 50% for composites. Most of us do not place amalgams anymore, because of the stress fractures they create in teeth, we need to remove more tooth structure to place amalgam and if we have to treat amalgam as a biohazardous material why do we want to place it in teeth.
    My daughter does not have much discretionary income, she does not want amalgam and has never had an amalgam placed. She is going to travel some distance to have me place some needed restorative.
    Over the years I have experienced many upset patients over UCR related clauses in their contracts, while they where very satisfied with the dentistry I provided, their insurance company undermined the doctor patient relationship. Our answer to these problems has been to develop large practice group affiliations while giving up some of our autonomy we have been able to control overhead and negotiate better insurance contract terms. Sole practitioners face many challenges, as the standard of care exponentially increases due to technology, the decisions and capital allocation for the dentist becomes more demanding along with the marketing required to sustain practice growth and attrition. We sure face many issues that dental school did not prepare us. Although I felt privileged to obtain a great dental education from an excellent dental school, it was only the beginning of a journey. We must maintain a positive attitude, create positive thoughts about our profession and create an improved future for dentistry, without dentists there is no dentistry the power lies within us.

  27. Mike Rice says:

    Joseph Ferraro, please send me your contact info. My email is [email protected].



  28. Susan says:

    Maybe when all practicing dentists quit the ADA, the ADA will reinvent themselves into an organization “serving” the American public. Kind of like AARP, but for all Americans with a focus on dental needs and care. This would allow any interested citizen to join the ADA for a nominal fee. Membership benefits would include access to current, transparent, accurate, pricing & quality comparisons. Dental corporations, private dentists and specialists could “possibly” pay to advertise, but that’s about it. Then dentists could start their own organization (designed to support their own interests) from scratch.

  29. Alisa says:

    I am not a dentist, I am a patient. I was told by the new dentist who bought the practice where I am a patient, I could not be seen by her because I have refused to get the ‘required’ 18 x-rays.
    I explained I live my life holistically, and if a dental issue arises I would certainly agree to an x-ray or two. I recently had 7 mercury fillings removed and had x-rays for all of those teeth, but that wasn’t good enough. In researching the ADA, I see they are a woke branch of the woke federal govt. I see nothing on the ADA website about the health of a patient and how to work with them to achieve a healthy mouth. I stumbled onto this article, and am happy to see that there are some people who refuse to be sheep. You are one of those lions. I can only hope more dentists like you rise up. I suppose I will have a tough time finding a dentist who will see me without the astronomical number of x-rays the ADA says are ‘ as safe as mammograms’ which I also refuse to get. Thanks for the article.

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