The American Dental Association (ADA) was founded August 1859, at Niagara Falls, N.Y., by 26 dentists representing various dental societies in the United States.
The ADA today has more than 156,000 dentist members 53 constituent (state-territorial) and 545 component (local) dental societies. It is the largest and oldest national dental association in the world.
The Association has more than 400 employees at its headquarters in Chicago and its office in Washington, D.C.
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 Speaker of the House of Delegates, as an elective officer of the Association, attends all meetings of the Board of Trustees but is not a voting member of the Board.
The House of Delegates, the legislative body of the Association, is composed of 467 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.
President of the ADA is Charles H. Norman, D.D.S.
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 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.
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 is one of the largest dental libraries in the world housing thousands of books and journal volumes. ADA members can request articles from the ADA Library in electronic format, or consult with experienced dental librarians for information on any dental topic.
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 meet daily living expenses due to injury, disabling medical condition or advanced age; and grants to dentists who have lost property in a declared disaster.