Advertising Standards

The ADA welcomes advertising in its publications as an important means of keeping the dentist informed of new and better products and services for the practice of dentistry. Such advertising must be factual, dignified, tasteful and intended to provide useful product and service information. These standards apply to all product-specific promotional material submitted to ADA programs. The publication of an advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement or approval by the ADA or any of its subsidiaries, councils, commissions or agencies of the product or service being offered in the advertisement unless the advertisement specifically includes an authorized statement that such approval or endorsement has been granted. The fact that an advertisement for a product, service or company has appeared in an ADA publication will not be referred to in collateral advertising.

The ADA reserves the right to accept or reject advertising at its sole discretion for any product or service submitted for publication.

General Requirements

1. All advertisements submitted for display in an ADA publication are subject to review.

2. Products that are in an ADA Seal program must also satisfy all requirements of the Council on Scientific Affairs, in addition to these standards governing eligibility for advertising in ADA publications. Further information on the evaluation programs of the Council on Scientific Affairs is available by contacting the council office at 312.440.2734.

3. Advertisements must not be deceptive or misleading. All claims of fact must be fully supported and meaningful in terms of performance or any other benefit. The Association reserves the right to request additional information as needed.

4. Advertisements will not be accepted if they conflict with or appear to violate ADA policy, the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct or its Constitution and Bylaws, or if the advertisements are deemed offensive in either text or artwork, or contain attacks of a personal, racial or religious nature. The ADA reserves the right to decline advertising for any product involved with a government agency challenge or denial of product marketing, and for any technique or product that is the subject of an unfavorable or cautionary report by an agency of the ADA.

5. By submitting advertising copy, advertisers certify that such copy and the advertised product(s) are in accord with applicable government laws and regulations such as equal opportunity laws and regulations covering new drug applications and prescription drug advertising. For example, products that require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing must receive this approval before being eligible and must include "full disclosure" when required. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to conform to regulations of the FDA and all legal requirements for the content of claims made for products. Acceptance of advertising in ADA publications is not to be construed as a guarantee that the manufacturer has complied with such laws and regulations.

6. Complete scientific and technical data, whether published or unpublished, concerning product safety, operation and usefulness will be required.

7. The advertisement may cite, in footnotes, references from dental and other scientific literature provided the reference is truthful and is a fair and accurate representation of the body of literature supporting the claim made.

8. Comparative advertising claims for competing products and services will not be accepted.

9. Display advertising with respect to employment, purchase of practice, participation or any other contractual relationship with any dental care delivery mode or system may be accepted for publication. Such opportunities may also be advertised in the classified section of ADA publications without any illustrations or graphics.

10. ADA image requirements for advertising materials showing dentists and their practices: In order to ensure timely review and approval, the advertiser is required to follow standard PPE procedures and is highly encouraged to use images appropriate for COVID-19. In lieu of meeting the requirements below, the advertiser can avoid displaying people in images and just show a gloved hand, for instance, or the product.

  • If treating (or it looks like they are treating) a patient (Dentist, Assistant, and/or Hygienist) or if the wording of the piece gives a “clinical context” (eg. “Ready to return to work” and the picture is of, or implies, a clinic setting):
    • Must be wearing gloves.
    • Gloves are pulled up over the cuffs of the sleeves.
    • Must be wearing protective eyewear.
    • Face shield is highly recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Must be wearing a mask and have it sitting correctly on the bridge of the nose. (If not treating: Mask should be properly on or off. Mask may not be pulled up on top of head or hang around neck or ears.)
    • Should be wearing long sleeves or gown – concern for cases that are more invasive.
    • Cannot be wearing a watch, bracelets, or rings – as these items can become contaminated.
    • No hanging eyewear.
    • If they are wearing any gown, it must be properly fastened in the back and at the neck.
    • Head coverings or shoe coverings are not required, though are optional.
    • Any practitioner with long hair must have it pulled back. 
  • Patients: 
    • Need to be wearing protective eyewear while being treated. 
    • Need to be wearing a protective drape/bib during treatment. 

    If no patient is present, dentist and/or dental team member does not need protective gear 
    but must be consistent, i.e. do not show one wearing gloves but no eyewear or mask, or 
    some combination thereof. Must be all or none. 

  • X-Rays: 
    • If taking x-rays, patient should be wearing lead shield with thyroid collar 
      when appropriate. 
    • X-ray images are moving away from film and should be shown on a digital 
      screen as much as possible. 
    • Certain types of x-ray machines should not be shown (please request ADA 
      review if selecting a photo). 
    • X-rays need to be shown on a light board or screen; do not hold them up to the 
  • Specific COVID-19 Image Guidance (recommended) 
    • Operatory counter surfaces must be cleared of any unnecessary non-clinical 
      objects and necessary clinical objects must be properly protected. Examples 
      • Necessary, permitted: 
        • Clinical items such as a curing light, handpieces, bagged or 
          open instruments (as the scene depicts) 
        • Sharps disposal containers 
        • Keyboards should be covered with protective covering, paper 
          records should not be sitting out open and exposed without 
          some sort of transparent covering 
      • Unnecessary, not permitted: 
        • Photos along a counter
        • Decorative items of any kind
        • Boxes of additional PPE
        • No patient information should be visible, in keeping with 
          HIPAA regulations. 
    • Non-treatment areas:

      • Front office check-in area:
        • Plexiglas/glass barrier or staff with proper PPE of face shield or goggles and mask (gloves not necessary), long sleeves
        • Hand sanitizer recommended
        • If multiple staffers in close proximity, proper PPE is a must even if Plexiglas barrier, as they should be protective of each other, not just incoming patients/visitors
      • Reception area:
        • No magazines/brochures/toys on display
        • Spacing of chairs to indicate 6 ft. social distancing or barriers 

11. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not eligible for advertising.

12. Books and electronic media are eligible for advertising but a sample may be required in advance for review.

13. An advertisement for an educational course is eligible if it is offered by a provider that is recognized by the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (ADA CERP) or conducted under the auspices of the following organizations: an ADA constituent or component dental society, an ADA-recognized dental specialty certifying board or sponsoring organization; an accredited dental or medical school; or any organization specifically referred to in the Bylaws of the ADA; and educational courses offered by providers recognized by the Academy of General Dentistry Program Approval for Continuing Education (AGD PACE). The eligibility of an advertisement for a course conducted by or under the auspices of an organization or commercial entity other than the aforementioned will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

14. The advertiser and the product or service being offered should be clearly identified in the advertisement. In the case of drug advertisements, the full generic name of each active ingredient will appear.

15. Advertising that simulates editorial content must be clearly identified as advertising. The word "advertisement" must be displayed prominently.

16. Guarantees may be used in advertisements provided the statements that are "guaranteed" are truthful and can be substantiated. However, no guarantee should be used without disclosing its conditions and limitations. When space or time restrictions preclude such disclosures, the advertisement must clearly reveal where the full text of the guarantee can be examined before purchase.

17. Advertisements must not quote the names, statements or writings of any individual, public official, government agency, testing group or other organization without their express written consent. Guidelines for the use of testimonials are available upon request.

For questions regarding the ADA Advertising Standards, please contact Ms. Rebecca Kiser in the Publishing Division at 312.440.3540 or by email.