The Florida Dental Association (FDA) was established in 1884. Since then, membership in this statewide professional organization has grown to approximately 7,000 and represents 70 percent of all licensed dentists in Florida. The FDA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of state citizens of all ages. A constituent society of the American Dental Association, the FDA takes an active role in developing the careers and practices of its member dentists, in educating primary and secondary children about dental health, and in taking part in charitable programs designed make dental care available to underserved and low-income communities. Promoting ethical practice standards and helping to improve the dental practice environment by offering continuing education and advocating for the profession and the public are among the many ways in which FDA seeks to realize its mission. The FDA employs a staff of 60 professionals in three Tallahassee offices, including the downtown government affairs office. Serving as the voice of Florida-licensed dentists in the Legislature, the FDA maintains a clear and consistent message that dentistry is the gateway to good health.
The FDA Foundation
The FDA Foundation sponsors statewide access to dental care programs for needy individuals through Project: Dentists Care (PDC). These programs promote the importance of good dental health for people of all ages. The FDA's mission is to advance public health through professional education, public advocacy, high dental practice standards and improvements to the professional practice environment. Project: Dentists Care consists of volunteer dental team members who provide free and low-cost care to children and adults who do not qualify for public assistance but who have a substantial unmet need for dental care.
The primary way that Project: Dentists Care reaches out to the local community is through the annual Give Kids a Smile event, held each February. Sponsored by the American Dental Association, Give Kids a Smile is aimed at improving the oral health of thousands of needy children. Funds from the Foundation also go towards the FDA's "Smile That Smile," a program designed to educate and promote the use of mouthguards in all contact sports.
The Foundation and the ADA Foundation also offer a charitable Relief Fund to help Florida dentists and their dependents (including former dependents of deceased dentists) who suffer financial hardships because of misfortune, age, illness, physical or other disabling conditions or death. Relief Fund grants may be offered in a lump sum or in monthly installments usually for six months or one year. To be eligible for an FDA grant, a dentist (or the dependent of a living or deceased dentist) need not be a member of the FDA -- all licensed dentists practicing in Florida may apply. The Foundation and the ADA jointly approve or deny requests.
Career Support and Mentoring Program
The FDA provides career and educational guidance and job search support to students of the dental profession, from pre-admission to recent graduates. Students can access extensive information about career occupations, educational requirements and resources.
For those who feel they could benefit from the perspective of an established practitioner or have questions or concerns about dentistry, the FDA offers the Dr. Louis J. Atkins Mentor Program. The Mentor Program connects students with FDA member professionals who've volunteered to serve as mentors.