Student Corner

How does the tripartite system work?

For more than 90 years, the American Dental Association, together with state and local dental societies, has functioned as a three tiered system called tripartite. ADA members hold membership at all 23 levels. Currently, near 80% of all dentists in the United States are part of this system. This by far outpaces membership in all other professional organizations.

To help new graduates ease into active membership, the American Dental Association offers a reduced dues program for the national potion of dues. The Ohio Dental Association and Columbus Dental Society also offer the following dues structure.

The first membership year out of dental school is $0, the second year out is 25% of full dues, third year is 50% and fourth year is 75%. Students who go onto graduate school just pay $30 in national dues/year. The ADA Reduced Dues Program requires continuous membership.

Each level of membership offers special advantages and benefits to the dentist who invests in organized dentistry. For example, the ADA Office of Students Affairs (OSA) exists to assist dental students from the time they enter dental school to the time they begin their careers.

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) is an autonomous association for students. As ADSA’s mission is closely aligned with the goals of the ADA and its Office of Students Affairs, the associations work together in providing students with the resources and support they need during dental school and as they embark on their careers.

Benefits of Membership - by Zachary J. Mellion, DMD, MSD