Like any other professional community, dental associations are very important for the life and well-being of the society. Whenever professionals gather together and form such organizations, they become a force which is able to influence governments and change laws.
The vast majority of Ohio dentists belong to one or more of the major dental associations which regulate how they serve their patients.
When a dentist becomes a member of a dental association, he is going to have his rights defended and his status protected. An association has the power of hiring the best attorneys of law, too expensive or beyond the reach of a certain doctor, no matter how good.
Dental associations can order studies for assessing the oral care needs of the population in certain areas. They can determine governments to take measures for preventing medical conditions that would lead to an increase of the oral healthcare costs. For instance, by simply adding fluoride to tap water, the incidence of cavities can significantly decrease. One single dentist wouldn’t be able to influence such a major change in the infrastructure of a state. A professional association is a much greater power, so it can suggest such methods of increasing the well-being of the citizens.
Dental associations can also be helpful in maintaining a good communication between professionals and patients. It’s always easier when such groups of people speak through a few representatives. This makes the dialogue possible and effective.
Another positive thing about such organizations is their ability of enforcing good practice guides for all dentists in the state. Dentists will know how to diagnose and treat various conditions the correct way, thus obtaining better results. Associations can easily develop and implement continuous medical education programs, so that doctors become aware of the latest technologies and treatments in their specialty.
Take a look at the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct to see how much the association strives for excellence in the dental profession.
This enables access to information for all professionals, regardless their personal wealth or their residence. It would be very hard for a dentist in the countryside to stay in touch with modern treatment methods, as authoritative medical journals might not be readily available in remote areas. A professional association can easily distribute such informational materials to its members. This is how dentists can be permanently in touch with the modern world, even if they live and practice in remote places.
Associations can also produce and distribute informational materials for the general population. This is an effective method of educating the population in regard to hygiene measures or screening programs that could help them preserve a better oral health.
All dentists, regardless their specialty, should consider becoming members of such professional organizations within their area of residence. The benefits are much higher than the membership fee, as they are going to become better in their practice. They are going to learn about new guides and treatment protocols as soon as they are issued, so their patients are going to benefit from this kind of knowledge sooner rather than later. The results will be visible, as patients will lose less hours yearly due to oral disease, the Medicaid budgets spent on dental services will also decrease and patients will be able to keep their natural teeth for longer.