Frequently Asked Questions

The Michigan Dental Association, abbreviated MDA, is Michigan’s primary source for oral healthcare and home to more than 5,500 Michigan dentists. MDA dentists are dedicated to upholding the highest standard of practice so that you and your family can receive the best oral care.

Your dentist is an important member of your healthcare team, someone who works with you to maintain your oral health as well as your overall health. In fact, your dentist is a doctor who specializes in more than teeth and gums. Dentists are trained to:

  • perform comprehensive oral examinations;
  • diagnose oral diseases;
  • interpret X-rays and other diagnostic tests;
  • create treatment plans to maintain or restore each patient’s oral health;
  • perform surgical procedures in teeth, bone and soft tissues of the mouth/oral cavity;
  • treat facial pain and oral trauma;
  • monitor the growth and development of teeth and jaws; and
  • provide preventive care such as sealants, fluoride applications and teeth cleaning.

In addition to teeth and gums, dentists are trained to treat the muscles and nerves of the head, neck, jaw, tongue, and salivary glands.

The MDA Foundation is the Michigan Dental Association’s charitable organization. As such, it advances the profession of dentistry through various scholarship opportunities and other assistance to students of dentistry, dental hygiene and dental assisting. The MDA Foundation also served nearly 1,000 patients and provided nearly $1 million in care during 2016.

To learn more about the MDA Foundation, please visit the website:

MDA Dentists

A Michigan Dental Association dentist has made a special commitment to uphold the ethical code, practice standards, and mission of the MDA:

  • to encourage the improvement of the public’s oral health;
  • to enhance MDA members’ ability to provide ethical care through education, training, and service; and
  • to promote the science and art of dentistry.

Dentists outside of the MDA have no such commitment, and may not uphold the same rigorous safety and health standards as your local MDA dentist. This commitment ensures that you and your family receive the best oral health care available.

Members are required by membership and by law to observe universal safety precautions, the dental patient’s greatest assurance of safety during dental procedures.

The association keeps members up-to-date on the latest scientific developments and recommendations from the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

While Michigan dentists are required to earn 60 hours of certified continuing education during each three-year re-licensure period, the Michigan Dental Association makes available more than 300 hours of educational programming annually at seminars throughout Michigan, and encourages its members to attend more than the state-required hours.

Check out the MDA’s online directory of dentists in the Find a Dentist section. If you already have a family dentist, be sure to ask if he or she is a member the next time you visit the office. Also, be sure to look for the MDA membership sticker in your dentist’s office. Find A Dentist ›

Oral Health Care

Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. Some people need to visit the dentist once or twice a year; others may need more visits. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.

Find an MDA dentist in your area that suits the specific needs of your family by utilizing our Find a Dentist tool. Find A Dentist ›

Now that you’ve used the Find a Dentist search to locate a list of Michigan Dental Association dentists in your area, you need to narrow it down to the one dentist who is your family’s perfect match. Here’s a list of questions to help you make your decision.

  • Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
  • Is the dental office close to your home or office?
  • Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and well organized?
  • How are dental emergencies handled?
  • Does the office staff appear to be friendly and helpful?
  • What is the office policy for rescheduling an appointment?
  • What is the policy on fees and payment plans?
  • Does the dental office staff explain ways to help prevent dental problems?
  • Does the office have dental health education materials available?

Since a good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral healthcare, take your time and choose one that you and your family feel comfortable with so you can arrive for each visit with a smile.

Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

When fluoride is used in small amounts on a routine basis, it helps to prevent tooth decay. It encourages “remineralization,” a strengthening of weak areas on the teeth, which are the beginning of cavity formation.

The American Dental Association recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Early childhood dental visits will allow your dentist to check the teeth for signs of decay and monitor progress and potential problems with emerging teeth.

Your dentist can also make sure your child is receiving the proper amount of fluoride for healthy teeth. This visit will also give your child the opportunity to become comfortable with the dentist and dental visits.

A study showed 85 percent of people who suffered a heart attack also had some form of periodontal disease. It’s also been found that the connection between gum disease and heart attacks is higher than the connection between high cholesterol and heart attacks.

You should be aware of these potential complications, and always notify your dentist if you notice any changes in your health.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important to preventing problems, especially during pregnancy. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day helps remove decay-causing plaque, which may be elevated due to high hormone levels.

A healthy diet can provide you and your baby with the nutrients you both need to maintain good oral health throughout pregnancy and development. The nutrients especially important to the development of your baby’s teeth include calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D.

Learn more information about oral health and the steps you can take to ensure you have a healthy smile by visiting our Dental Health Education section.

File a Dental Complaint

Concerned About Your Care?

When you choose an MDA member dentist, you’ve chosen a dentist who is committed to providing the highest quality dental treatment possible. The MDA realizes that differences sometimes exist between a patient and a dentist. For that reason, we have a dispute resolution program, our peer review system, to assist patients and address their concerns regarding the treatment they received from an MDA member dentist.

The first step in the peer review process is to inform the dentist of your complaint and give them the chance to fix the problem. If you have been unable to resolve the problem with your dentist, our peer review process may be able to assist you in reaching a resolution.

  • Provides an avenue for patients to be heard and have complaints resolved.
  • Meets the needs of the public regarding the quality and appropriateness of dental care.
  • Assists parties in avoiding litigation.
  • Is an objective and confidential process.
  • Helps maintain a high standard of dental care throughout the state.
  • If your complaint falls within the scope of peer review, it will be forwarded to the local or specialty dental society Peer Review Committee.
  • The committee will first attempt mediation by contacting both parties and clarifying the issue.
  • If mediation is not possible, a formal review will take place.
  • There is no charge for the peer review service.
  • If the treating dentist is not a member of the Michigan Dental Association.
  • A complaint about a fee being too high — this is out of the scope of peer review. However, complaints concerning whether a fee should have been charged may fall within the scope.
  • Peer review cannot process the same complaint if a formal complaint has already been filed with the State of Michigan, is currently in litigation, or has been resolved through litigation.
  • Complete the Initial Contact Form to begin the process. Or call (800) 589-2632, ext. 430.
  • This form helps us gather preliminary information regarding your complaint so we can determine if the issue falls within the scope of the MDA Peer Review Committee.
  • You will be informed of the acceptance of your complaint by phone or letter.