Swinomish Dental TherapistOur History

Dental therapists, also known as dental health aid therapists, have been practicing worldwide for over 100 years. In the United States, the first dental therapists saw patients in 2005 in Alaska, where Tribal health organizations united to address the unmet oral health care needs of patients living in rural and remote locations. Thanks to their leadership and development of a successful dental therapy training program, today over 45,000 Alaskans have access to regular dental care for the first time.

In 2006, the American Dental Therapy Association (ADTA) was founded when four visionary dental therapists sought to bring the successes they saw in Alaska to other underserved communities across the nation. Born out of the ethos that oral health is a right, not a privilege, ADTA founders Stephanie Woods, Bobby Curtis, Lilian McGilton, and Conan Murat worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality oral health care.

Since our founding, ADTA has grown into a trusted national partner, educator, and passionate advocate. Each year, ADTA supports dental therapists in providing vital oral health care to hundreds of thousands of Americans. We educate the public about the value of dental therapists, create educational and career advancement opportunities for dental therapists, and support educational institutions in developing superior dental therapy programs.