Are you a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant? If you are, you have a professional dental association dedicated to the advancement and support of your profession. There are other dental associations out there, too, but we'll just focus on those three parts of our profession in this post.

You can be a member of a professional dental association on three levels: national, state, and local. National dental associations work together with state and local dental societies.

Some dentists think professional dental associations are cliques that just do GALAs. There are GALAs, for sure. They do consist of only dental professionals rather than a diverse range of people. That said, they're often quite useful for both the dental professional as a whole and on an individual scale. 

Before you join one, however, you should consider the pros and cons of doing so.

The Benefits of Joining a Professional Dental Association

In a professional dental association, you'll find people who support you as well as mentors to help shape you as a clinician. 

You won't just find people who support you. One of the biggest benefits of professional dental societies is that they provide you with specific resources to support you. These resources include discounts, CE (continued education), job notifications, and more. 

By keeping current with CE courses or programs you elevate not only yourself but your profession as well. You'll be up to date with the latest systems and processes, which will improve your skills. By being so skillful, you'll bolster the reputation of dental professionals by representing them well. On top of all that, sometimes you need CE credits. A professional dental association will make getting those CE credits much easier. 

Something that's really important about professional dental associations is that they support and protect the profession of dentistry. Professional dental associations constantly fight legislation to protect your jobs. They'll fight for us on the federal level in ways we don’t even see. They bring our voice to the table with CODA, all health organizations, and the FTC. As one member of the Trapped in an OP Facebook group pointed out, paying $300 a year for a membership doesn’t seem like much compared to going back to school to learn a new trade after you’re legislated out of work. 

The Cons of Joining a Professional Dental Association

The cons to joining a professional dental association are often considered the time and money it takes to join. The cost is minimal, typically around $300 per year. But with student loans, other personal expenses, and practice debt, it's wise to weigh expenses to ensure you get true value from your investment.

Some dental professionals find the annual fee to be too expensive to be worth it, and they might be if you don't take advantage of all the benefits the organization offers. If you do, the cost becomes much more reasonable. For example, one member in the Trapped in an OP Facebook group said they prefer to get their CE credits from a local study club for free. And, of course, you can access free training here on Dental Hub 360.

What Professional Dental Associations Can You Join?

You’ll also need to figure out what professional dental association is right for you. For this post, we'll focus on the three dental associations, as an example. If you're a dentist, there's the ADA. For hygienists, there's the ADHA. And dental assistants have the ADAA.

All of these associations offer different benefits. The ADAA, for example, offers 70 courses in almost every discipline of dentistry for dental assistants. Courses are free or offered at a reduced rate for members. They offer state state-specific education and testing in some states. You can get a scholarship or an award as a student member or a paying member. Additionally, membership in the ADAA currently includes $50,000 worth of personal liability insurance in your name. 

Click here to learn about ADA membership. If you're a dental hygienist, click here to learn about ADHA membership. And dental assistants can learn more about ADAA membership here.

Are you a member of a professional association?

Joining a professional dental association can reap tremendous benefits if you take advantage of all that's available to you. Have you joined one? Let us know what you find most valuable about your membership. If not, let us know your thinking, too! 

If you're interested in more content like this, join the Trapped in an OP Facebook group today!