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An Open Letter to Non-ADA Dentists

Dear non-ADA dentist,

I recently picked up a copy of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” because sometimes I can really be a pretentious douche bag.  There’s a small hipster part of me that would delight in referencing a classic political essay in normal conversation as if it were customary to do so.  So I read the thing.

I’m always looking for inspiration in these dark days of dentistry.  Paine wrote “Common Sense” in 1776 on the eve of the American Revolution when the American colonies were sick and tired of Great Britain’s shit.  More specifically, our Founding Fathers didn’t like being taxed without the ability to represent themselves in politics.  They also thought that leaders in government should be elected by the people and not by the divine providence that allows the children of Kings and Queens to eventually take their places.  Many historians credit this pamphlet with helping to galvanize Americans to fight for independance from the British.

My friends, if you choose to not be a member of the American Dental Associaiton then you are willingly being taxed without representation.  You might think that not paying your ADA dues means you escape “taxation” but I assure you that you are taxed in many other ways.  You are financially taxed by Federal and State government, both as a business and as an individual.  You are intellectually taxed by third party payers who think they can tell you how to practice dentistry.  You are emotionally taxed by problem patients that threaten litigation when you have done nothing wrong.  And the list of taxes goes on.

Paying your ADA dues means pooling your money with your fellow dentists to ease the tax burden.  But more importantly it gives you representation.  The American revolutionaries famously cried, “Taxation without representation is tyranny!”  Those who chose to not join the ADA are chosing a kind of self-imposed tyranny.  They allow themselves to start sinking into the choppy waters while the rest of us keep swimming.

I hope that you reconsider your decision to not be involved in your profession’s future.  If you quit the ADA because you didn’t like a particular policy then get involved and change it.  Rally people to your cause and make your profession better.

These are dark days for dentistry.  The “taxations” we face seem to be piling up.  We need you to represent yourself along with us.  We are on the eve of a revolution…


Chris Salierno DDS


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