International Association of Dental Specialists

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of iADS membership?

There are many organizations for dental specialists, however we are the only completely Interdisciplinary community. This is what makes us unique.
There is no other organization in the world where dental specialists can come together to share ideas, obtain the results of research and product reviews targeted to specialists, develop mentoring relationships, educate the public about what we do, and discuss specialty practice management.


How is iADS educating the public?

In terms of educating the public, we are starting with a website for dental specialists, but in year two we plan to launch a website for the public. In the past, general dentists have been the gatekeepers. iADS will harness the power of the Internet to reach the public directly.
Also, there are some dentists who have initials after their names and they call themselves specialists, but they do not have the requisite training and credentials. Our goal is to let the public know a) how dental specialists are uniquely qualified to meet their needs, and b) give the public access to a geographically searchable database of iADS members who all have the formal training necessary to be true dental specialists.

We have a specialist forum that started as a listserv over ten years ago that has over 20,000 posts. Using today’s technology and the iADS membership structure, we are now indexing and archiving those posts for easy reference. When specialists have questions within their specialty or when they want to reach out to other specialists for interdisciplinary advice, they can use the forum and get input from specialists around the world.

Why are you so passionate about iADS?

Dental specialists have not done a good job getting the specialty care message out to the public. The public knows that if you have a heart problem, you see a cardiologist; if you have a skin problem, you see a dermatologist. There is insufficient awareness regarding the training involved for someone to become an orthodontist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and the scope of these specialties, for example. Also, most people do not know what periodontists do, and very few people have even heard terms such as “prosthodontist” or “endodontist.” There is a public recognition problem for all the recognized specialties.
Dental specialists worldwide have tremendous expertise, yet relatively few people know who we are and what we do. This public education mission is the reason iADS exists and my personal passion.

Will joining lead to increase patient referrals within the iADS network?

There will two ways to get patient referrals through iADS. The first is internal referrals. Even with the listserv, which is unorganized and primitive by today’s standards, we have had significant networking, including patient referrals. I have personally made referrals and received referrals through that system. With hundreds or even thousands of members, a robust website, and all the modern data management tools, we will take patient referrals to an entirely different level.
The second opportunity will evolve over time. The plan is to create a public website, drive people to the site through marketing, and encourage the public to find a dental specialist in their area and contact that clinician directly. Individual members will place an iADS logo on their website to help brand themselves as true dental specialists.
We will set up a system to allow potential patients to engage in an online chat with a specialist in their area. The purpose of that dialogue will be to answer inquiries, and of course the clinicians will invite individuals to come directly to their practices for diagnosis and treatment planning.

How is the new iADS website and search engine different from the old LISTSERV?

The difference is night and day. The listserv has been a great workhorse. So many specialists come up to me at meetings and thank me for creating the listserv. Now, instead of being bombarded with 20 emails at a time, you can control how you receive the information. You can refer back to different topics and subjects. In addition, it will be customizable. Do you want to receive every thread for each topic or just the daily recap or a weekly recap? There will be a link that will take you where you want to go. The website will be much more powerful and user-friendly.


Why not wait a year to join?

My answer is, why wait? Why not start getting the benefits immediately? By joining now, you can help create the association tailored to your needs. Why not be part of this exciting process?

Now is the time to support iADS, an organization that is fighting for the branding and rightful acknowledgement specialists deserve in the dental profession.

You will have the opportunity to influence the organization and get the immediate benefits of worldwide collaboration and information sharing. You will be in position to receive referrals from your colleagues and immediately take advantage of marketing to the public when that aspect of iADS is ready to go. You will also get the advantage of a lower cost introductory dues structure. If you wait, you will miss benefits now and ultimately pay more to join later.

Will there be geographical exclusivity?

At the outset, we want to be inclusive as we build the membership, not exclusive. However, as we grow, we will work out arrangements with companies to give discounts to members. For example, marketing companies may offer templates that individual members can easily customize, which is a great cost-saving compared to starting a marketing program from scratch. In those cases, access to certain resources will be geographically exclusive and made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How will iADS be structured?

We have a mastermind group made up of specialists from different disciplines. These are forward-thinking individuals who meet online on a quarterly basis and share ideas. We will continually rotate people on and off the mastermind group to keep it fresh and ensure a continual flow of new ideas.
There is also an Advisory Board to handle governance issues posed by our members. The goal is to have each specialty represented. Board members serve two-year terms.

We also have an International Advisory Board, because iADS will have a worldwide presence.

How will iADS help specialists at various stages of their careers?

We will serve specialists in all age groups throughout their careers. New practitioners will benefit from networking, continuing education, practice management resources, and the opportunity to learn from mentors. Mid-career specialists may need help with buying new products, staffing issues, or expanding their marketing to include direct-to-consumer advertising. We will make extremely useful information available to these members. Finally, members who are ready to sell their practices need advice on practice appraisers/brokers or finding an associate. Rather than just “asking around” and getting a small sampling of opinions, members can tap into a large network and learn from the experience of others.

How will iADS take a leadership role in research?

We have a not-for-profit research arm that is headed by Dr. Paul Rosen, our Chief of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Robert Horwitz is our Director of Regenerative Biomaterials and Therapies. To have proper research we will establish an Institutional Review Board (IRB). We have members who have access to PubMed and other ways of publishing. We can disseminate information quickly and inexpensively through online publications. Forums, like ours, can help promote research done by members and help drive clicks for altimetrics.

How will iADS help specialists evaluate products and vendors?

iADS fulfills an important role by providing an outstanding forum for specialists to discuss products and services. For example, if someone wants feedback from another specialist on issues such as membranes, bone grafting materials, or which cone-beam CT scanner to buy, how do they get this information? They can talk to a limited number of colleagues, but before iADS there was no efficient, broad-based way to find out what others are using and hear their experiences. With iADS, members can pose specific questions and tap into a large network of colleagues in their speciality.
We will also have approved vendors who offer discounts to members, and testimonials from members will carry weight when someone is searching for a particular vendor.

Think of this aspect of iADS as a kind of dynamic, real-time “consumer reports” for dental specialists.

What kinds of continuing education will iADS offer?

Initially we plan to offer webinars. There will also be some live, on-site programs. Also, we will give our members the opportunity to review courses available in the marketplace. This rating system will be very valuable, because members will be able to see at a glance which courses their colleagues think are very worthwhile for specialists.

Can general dentists join iADS?

iADS is an organization of dental specialists. We are branding ourselves as specialists. For that reason, a dentist must be a recognized dental specialist to join. However, we plan to have certain parts of the public website available to general dentists. For some online educational programs, we will invite general dentists to participate. Our goal is not to train them to be specialists, but to educate them on how to work with specialists for the benefit of all our patients.

What is the iADS membership fee?

The current yearly subscription $1,100. If you prepay it, we are taking off one month, for a net yearly dues payment of $1,000. To pay dues over time, there is an initial four-month down payment of $500 and then $100 month thereafter. The yearly subscription rate is already proving to be very popular. 

We will also incentivize our members by giving them a discount for every member they refer. We plan to use “viral marketing”: one specialist refers several other specialists, who in turn refer several others, and so on. The membership has the potential to grow very quickly.



In addition to all the practical and cost-saving benefits of iADS, what are the intangible benefits?

iADS will grow as a community. There will be many social aspects—people caring about each other. iADS will be there for you in good times and bad as a large but at the same time intimate community of specialists to support you both professionally and personally. It’s important to have iADS as our advocacy group to ensure the survival of dental specialties and to educate patients about who we are and what we do. Individual specialists cannot achieve these goals working independently. We need each other. We need iADS.