Pacific ASDA’s mission: Unity of Voice Advocacy Leadership Education Passion

Unity of voice in advocating for student rights and welfare Opportunity through promoting leadership and education Passion for dentistry



Join for just $75/year to experience the following benefits:

  • Education on debt management, licensure and midlevel providers
  • Development of leadership and interpersonal skills which you’ll need when you begin practicing
  • Interactive experiences with seasoned dental professionals and dental students at chapter events and national ASDA meetings
  • Insider knowledge about events and issues that will impact you as a student and when you graduate
  • Access to legislators to influence and educate them about dental care, delivery modes, licensure and reimbursement policies
  • Free life insurance, discounted health insurance and discounts on other products and services
  • Free subscription to ASDA’s award-winning publications
  • Student membership in the ADA

Join for just $58/year to experience the following benefits:

  • Education about issues that will impact you as a predental student and when you enter dental school – this will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting into dental school
  • Interactive experiences with dental students and dental professionals at national events
  • Early involvement in organized dentistry
  • Free subscription to ASDA’s award-winning publications

Join for just $88/year to experience the following benefits:

  • Education on the issues affecting dental practice in the U.S.
  • Interactive experiences with dental students nationwide
  • Discounted study guides for the National Dental Board Examinations
  • Free subscription to ASDA’s award-winning publications
  • Candidates must be a predoctoral student of a dental school listed in the World Directory of Dental Schools compiled by the FDI World Federation
  • Student membership in the ADA

“The following is republished with permission from the American Student Dental Association.”


UCLA ASDA First Place Student Research Award 2015-16 | ASDA Distinguished Chapter Newsletter Award 2006-2007 | Best in Chapter ASDA Distinguished Chapter Newsletter Award 2004-2005 | Ideal ASDA Award 2003, 2004-2005 Outstanding Chapter Organization | Ideal ASDA Award 2007 | Ideal ASDA. Ideal ASDA 2004-2005, 2008, 2011. Outstanding Membership and Communication | Ideal ASDA. 2004-2005. Outstanding Involvement Organization |


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ASDA Engage

What is Engage? The primary purpose of Engage is to inform dental students on critical issues and rally in response to legislative activities that impact their profession. This is mostly accomplished through action alerts prompting students to contact their legislators.

Why should I use Engage? The issues that impact you as a dental student and future dentist are continuously being discussed in Congress and state legislatures. Issues you care about, such as student debt, licensure, Medicaid and Medicare, barriers to care, midlevel providers, health care reform, STEM and dental school funding will affect how you practice for years to come. Involving yourself in the process and taking action provides you a voice in these discussions and can significantly improve your ability to shape the future of the dental profession.

How do I use Engage? ASDA members are driven to Engage to voice their position to their elected officials by writing a letter, tweeting a representative, signing a petition or sharing a personal story.

  1. Connect with your lawmakers: Action alerts are sent to ASDA members with a pre-drafted (form) letter that can be edited by the member or used as is. Members use their respective zip code to establish their audience. Once the member has finished their letter, it is submitted electronically to their state or federal lawmaker.
  2. Track important legislation: Engage features a bill tracking function that allows users to follow pertinent bills through the legislative process. This includes a summary of the bill, information on its sponsor(s), ASDA’s position and current status. A critical part of advocacy is understanding the process. Knowing where a bill is headed and who will decide its fate helps ASDA focus its advocacy efforts while keeping members informed.
  3. Follow current events: Engage also includes a customized newsfeed, tailored specifically to dental students and organized dentistry. The newsfeed filters national and local news outlets and provides continuously updated articles, based on criteria defined by ASDA.

Who are my legislators? You can look up your lawmakers based on your zip code. This information will also be provided to you when you take action on a bill.

How can I take action? Engage features timely issues that impact ASDA members at the top of the page—click the TAKE ACTION button. This will lead you to a section where you fill out some information about yourself. This information is required in order to determine who your federal or state lawmakers are.

Once you’ve filled out the information, you’ll be taken to a form letter. Remember to sign your name before hitting submit. Based on the information you provided, this will be sent to your respective lawmaker (seen in the “recipients” box to the right of the letter).

You’ll receive a thank you message, both on the page and via e-mail. The webpage will allow you to share the action via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Feel free to share with fellow students, faculty or patients.

Can I edit or change the form letter? Depending on the issue, you may be able to edit the form letter. If so, feel free to add personal stories that help illustrate why this issue is important to you and how their decision will impact your dental education or profession. However, be sure not to stray from the main message of the original letter.

How do I know when to take action? 

  • Visit the Engage site at to see which issues require immediate action.
  • For critical or time-sensitive matters, ASDA will send an action alert to your e-mail that will prompt you to take action. As an ASDA member, you do not need to sign-up; you are automatically enrolled. You can opt out of this service at your convenience.

What if I live in a different district than where I attend dental school? You should use the zip code for where you are registered to vote. But lawmakers who represent districts with dental schools want to hear from you, too. Depending on the issue, you are able to send a letter to different lawmakers if you have the correct zip code.

What are the key issues that ASDA advocates for or against? ASDA submitted a 2013 Federal Legislative Agenda to the 113th Congress. The agenda outlines ASDA legislative priorities, which include: student debt, barriers to care and health care reform – dental materials.

How are these issues decided? ASDA’s Council on Advocacy and Executive Committee works with stakeholders in organized dentistry to identify and monitor legislative issues that could impact dentistry.

Who should I contact with questions about Engage or advocacy opportunities? 

-Andrew Smith, ASDA governance and advocacy manager:

-Your legislative coordinator (listed at

– Your Pacific ASDA’s Legislative liason!!!!!


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Non-Traditional Student Resources:

Non-traditional Student Resources

A non-traditional dental student can be defined as a student who takes time in between

undergrad and dental school. Some students do this by choice to pursue work experience,

a post-baccalaureate program or even military training. Others may not get accepted to dental

school on their first or even second try so they look for opportunities to enhance their application.

ASDA has developed a guide to help non-traditional students navigate the dental school application

process. The information in this guide was provided by non-traditional students based on their experience.

The guide gives advice on coursework, the DAT, recommendation letters, personal statement,

committee letters, shadowing and extracurricular activities for non-traditional students.

Letters of Recommendation:

Dental schools have access to transcripts and test scores, but it is through letters of recommendation

that they are able to learn more about you as a person. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

Build relationships early on.
Get to know your professors and pre-health advisors. Ask questions in class, stop by during office hours,

help with research projects or become a teacher’s assistant. Building a relationship outside the classroom

reiterates that you are a motivated student and that you are taking an active role in your education.

Choose your letter writer wisely.
Select a professor or pre-health advisor who you have bonded with and who knows you very well.

This person should be able to write good things about you, your character and your potential.

Do not ask someone who cannot pick you out of a crowd to recommend you.

Several schools require a letter of recommendation from a dentist. Check the website of schools

you are interested in to be sure.

Meet in person to request the recommendation.
Set up a time to meet with your professor or pre-health advisor in person (start the process 8-10 weeks before the letter of recommendation is due). During the meeting, have a calendar handy so you can set up a follow-up date to bring your information.

Provide them information about you.
Make the letter writing experience as easy as possible by sharing the following documents with your professor or pre-health advisor:

  • A brief note explaining what the letter of recommendation is for (include any pertinent information that can help the author write your letter)
  • Your name, major and year of anticipated graduation
  • The class you took with this professor (when and grade earned) or latest interaction with advisor
  • Why you are going to become a dentist
  • Why you selected this person to recommend you
  • Current resume (check our these resume-writing tips)
  • Envelope addressed to the proper destination with a stamp affixed. Bonus points for putting a sticky note on the front of the envelope with the due date in bold letters.

Follow up with a thank you.
Always follow up with either a personal hand-written or electronic thank you note. No matter what the outcome of your application to dental school, keep your supporters updated. If you were accepted, they want to be excited for you. If not, they will more likely stay your advocate and may even offer to write another recommendation next time around.

Day in the Life of a Dental Student

Hear from predentals and dental students as they journey into and through dental school. Find out about the challenges students face at each stage of dental school and what they wish they had known before each year. Each page contains a video and remarks from two ASDA members.

A Day in the Life of Dental Student:

Life After Dental School

Throughout dental school, you participated in school activities, organizations and volunteer projects. After four years, you’ve accomplished your goal: graduation. Now what? Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Preparation Materials

To purchase board reprints, you need to log in to your account (or create a new one) and proceed to the online store.Students studying for the National Board Dental Examinations can get help from ASDA. Reprints of actual past examinations are available for Part I and Part II, in addition to a pilot exam featuring a comprehensive format and multiple-choice items in the traditional Part I discipline.

ASDA members can purchase reprints at a substantial discount online. If you have difficulty placing your order, call 800-621-8099, ext. 2795. ASDA accepts credit cards (VISA and MasterCard only). ASDA does not accept personal checks.

It is against NBDE policy to use or distribute unreleased or remembered questions. These materials are intended for the personal use of the purchaser and may not be reproduced in any format, whether paper or electronic, without the express written permission of the ADA Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.

Note: ASDA carries the most up to date reprints allowed by ADA. There is not a release schedule or a way to predict when new exams will become available. Member pricing is for ASDA members only and cannot be offered to ADA members. There are no returns or exchanges on study materials.  

Click here for more information on shipping rates, policies and ordering NBDE reprints.

What is a Dental Associateship?

Dental associates are non-owner dentists who work in a dental practice. There are usually two compensation arrangements offered to associates:

  • Employee of the practice
  • Independent contractor

As an employee of the practice, you may be offered an employment contract that will define your employment relationship with the practice. Often it will detail how you will be paid, vacation, sick time, continuing education perimeters, a restrictive covenant, and a non-solicitation clause. An employee is afforded many protections under the law in the work environment. Your employer is responsible for paying employment taxes on your behalf and these taxes will be deducted directly from your paycheck. As an employee, you are under the supervision of the owner or management of the practice.

As an independent contractor, you are not an employee of the practice. This is an important distinction. The law clearly defines the attributes that correctly constitute a proper independent contractor relationship. If you are told what time to be at work, which patients to see at a given time, and are using the instruments and materials of the practice, an argument could be made that your relationship does not fit that of an independent contractor. Independent contractors pay their own employment taxes (estimated quarterly payroll taxes) and receive a form 1099 from their employer at the end of the year to show the amount of compensation that they received. Many independent contractors choose to incorporate. Incorporation will afford a layer of legal protection and allow you to deduct legitimate business expenses against your income.

Common provisions in an independent contractor contract include:

  • Parties – who is bound to this contract (usually the practice owner and you)
  • Term – duration of contract and renewal options
  • Conditions – what the practice will provide, what you will provide
  • Use of your name in marketing materials
  • Compensation structure
  • Non-compete clauses (will vary based on location)
  • Termination clauses

Always have a lawyer or dental contract expert review the terms of your contract. The provisions will vary by state because of differences in employment laws like taxation, malpractice and workers comp.

How do you know if a practice is a good fit?

When evaluating the opportunity as either an employee or an independent contractor, there are several important questions to ask:

  • What type of condition is the equipment in?
  • Are the treatment rooms set up as left or right handed? Can they be switched if necessary?
  • Is the practice in good financial standing?
  • What type of patient flow does the practice have?
  • Are you responsible for filling your schedule or will the front office provide you with patients?
  • What is the collection rate?
  • Do the other dentists in the practice have a similar philosophy of care?
  • What type of technology does the practice implement?
  • Are the patient files in good order?
  • Is the staff knowledgeable and friendly?
  • Are their opportunities for growth with this practice?
  • Check online to see if the practice has a social media presence or any Yelp reviews

Often, associates are eventually offered the opportunity to “buy-in” to practice ownership with either “sweat equity” or with cash. You may be offered a minority interest (usually less than 50%), an equal partnership (50%), a majority interest (51%+), or the opportunity to purchase the business outright. Always seek qualified advice when structuring a buy in, partnership, or outright purchase of a dental business, as there are many factors to consider and pitfalls to avoid. A poor practice purchase choice can significantly affect your financial future!