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House action encourages dentists to promote bone marrow matching programs

The ADA is urging dentists to encourage their patients to participate in bone marrow matching programs.

The ADA House of Delegates passed a resolution in 2012 to help member dentists understand the importance of promoting bone marrow matching programs. Res. 162H-2012 states: "that the ADA urges members to support participation in the bone marrow matching program by providing appropriate literature in their offices, gathering samples and forwarding them for registration." The ADA's dental practice and science divisions were assigned to implement the resolution.

The resolution encourages dentists to get the kits, swab their patients' cheeks and send the samples in to the registry.  But because a medical or dental professional is not necessary for the task, it also indicates that patients can obtain a kit with the materials to swab their own cheek cells and mail the samples to a bone marrow registry.

The National Marrow Donor Program is one of the largest registries in the country and, according to its website, determines the type of tissue in the samples it receives. Doctors around the world search the registry to find a match for their patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. People can join online and receive their kit in the mail or in person.

The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation is another bone marrow registry.