Dr. Doherty`s editorial ("Shame on Them") laments the decision of the Academy of General Dentistry to no longer require ADA membership. I agree with Dr. Doherty`s statement that this decision will adversely affect ADA numbers. I believe it will significantly gut the organization because of finances. Many younger dentists, who view both organizations as doing the same thing, will choose to join the AGD (approximately $200 per year dues) instead of the ADA (approximately $800 per year dues), including component groups). There is another reason, I believe, for this separation...support of the membership.
The ADA`s constitution (Article II) states, "The object of this Association shall be to encourage the improvement of the health of the public and to promote the art and science of dentistry." Nowhere can I find anything about the welfare of the dentist members.
The AGD`s constitution states in Article II, "The purpose of the Academy is to serve the needs and to represent the interests of general dentists...."
In this day of expensive over-regulation, governmental interference and managed-care attacks, dentists are naturally supporting those organizations that place the well-being of the membership as prime importance. In 1922, when the ADA first incorporated, the constitution/articles of incorporation included in the objective section, "...to safeguard the common interests of the members of the dental profession...." Somehow, this was deleted in later years. Perhaps it is time for the ADA to take the hint that its prime purpose is to support the members who support it and act accordingly, before it is too late.
E. J. Neiburger, DDS