Questions and Answers About Your Association Dues

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Your dues dollars are vital to maintain the effectiveness of organized dentistry as the profession faces challenges in the marketplace, government, and regulatory areas.

This page answers some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about your MDS, ADA, and local society dues. If you have other questions, please contact the MDS Membership Department at (800) 342-8747.


Do I have to pay dues to the ADA, MDS, and my local component separately?

No.  In order to make things easier for you, the MDS invoice includes dues for the ADA and your local dental society.  Once the MDS receives your full payment, the appropriate dues are forwarded to the ADA and your local component.


Can I join only one or two organizations?

Organized dentistry is a tripartite structure.  The three organizations (a national, a state, and a local) are linked together.  Each society's bylaws require that you be a member in all three organizations.  The tripartite structure maintains the unity in the profession and a high market share, both of which ensure that you have a voice on the federal, state, and local legislation.  Membership to such a powerful group allows you to secure business discounts.

Review MDS Bylaws

When are dues due?

Membership is based on the calendar year, January 1 to December 31.  Please submit all dues by January 1.  MDS extends its members a grace period until March 31 of each year. If you are experiencing a financial hardship or unable to afford membership based on a disability, you may apply for a waiver of dues.

Open Waiver Document

What are my payment options?

The MDS tries to offer as many payment options as possible.  The current plans available are:

  • Lump Sum Program
    When you receive your dues statement in November, you can send in the total amount with a check or credit card number (MDS accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express).
  • Six Month Payment Plan
    Allows you to pay your dues over a six month period, from July to December.  Money can be automatically withdrawn from a checking account or credit card of your choice. You can sign up for the six month plan online in the My Profile section
Go to My Profile


Are my dues tax-deductible?

Federal law prohibits taxpayers from deducting membership dues that are attributable to lobbying expenses.  Accordingly, only that portion of your dues not attributable to lobbying activities is deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense.  Each year, the MDS provides you with a reasonable estimate of the amount of dues not deductible. The estimate is provided with your annual dues and is also available online.

Dues Deductibility Information


I'm a recent graduate.  Do I pay full dues?

New graduates are offered reduced dues for four years following completion of dental training.  In your first following graduation from dental school or completion of your dental training, annual dues for your district, MDS, and ADA are waived entirely.  In your second year, you receive a 75 percent discount off of the full dues; in your third year you receive a 50 percent discount; and in your fourth year you receive a 25 percent discount.  In order to receive the new dentist discounts, you must have maintained membership in the ADA while you were in dental school.

More Benefits for New Dentists

My dues statement seems awfully confusing.  Why are there so many items? What does it all mean?

The MDS tries to keep the dues invoices as simple as possible.  Below is a description of each item.

  • American Dental AssociationDues - This is your annual dues for the ADA, determined by delegates at the ADA House of Delegates.
  • Massachusetts Dental Societry Dues - This is your annual dues for the MDS, determined by delegates at the MDS House of Delegates.
  • District Dental Society - This is the annual dues for your local component dental society
  • Massachusetts Dental Society PAC/Massachusetts Dental Society People's Committee/American Dental Association PAC - This optional contribution is for the MDS and ADA political action committees. The MDS-PAC, ADPAC, and MDS People's Committee supports pro-dentistry legislators and public policy initiatives that aide dental patients..
  • MDS Continuing Education Registry - This optional service is provided by the MDS to help you keep track of your continuing education (CE) credits. Dentists in Massachusetts are required to obtain a minimum of 40 hours every two years. The Registry service provides you with online access and a paper copy of the CE courses you attended throughout the two-year cycle in a clean and orderly format.
  • MDS Alliance - The Alliance is a spousal society of the MDS.  The optional membership goes toward the annual dues for your spouse.  The Alliance supports dentistry through educational programs, scholarships, and lobbying activities.
  • Relief Fund - The Relief Fund was established to provide emergency financial assistance to needy dentists and their families in the event of personal tragedy, illness, or disaster.  This is an optional donation, and any amount is appreciated.
  • MDS Foundation - The MDS Foundation dedicated to using its resources to improve the oral health care of Massachusetts residents, and provide access to care for the underserved. This is an optional donation, and any amount is appreciated..
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I am retired.  Do I still pay full dues?

To be eligible for the retired membership you must (1) be fully retired and (2) have completed an Affidavit for Retired Membership.  Retired members receive a 75 percent discount off of the full ADA and MDS dues, and district dues are waived entirely. Dues for Retired Life Membersare waived entirely.

 You can complete the Retired Affidavit using the link below or by phone by calling the membership department of the MDS at 800-342-8747.

Open Retired Affidavit


I only work part-time.  Do I qualify for a discount?

Currently, a part-time dues category has not been established.  The MDS Council on Membership and the ADA Council on Membership Council review the membership categories on a regular basis.

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I've been a member for quite some time.  Do I qualify for life membership? If so, what would my dues be?

Life membership is awarded to doctors who are over the age of 65 and who have maintained membership in the American Dental Association for 30 consecutive years or 40 total years.

There are two categories of life membership: active (working) and retired. Active life members receive a 50 percent discount off of ADA, MDS, and district dues for as long as they continue to work. Retired life members pay no annual dues, but can continue to access any current or future benefit of the ADA, MDS, or their local society.

Review Membership Categories

Is there a way to recoup my dues?

Yes.  Membership can pays for itself and more! 

To start, you can save by registering as a member for the Yankee Dental Congress. Membership can also save you on certain business services through the MDS Affinity Programs.  Some programs to consider using include:

  • Eastern Dentists Insurance Company (EDIC) and its subsidiary, Eastern Dental Insurance Agency (EDIA) - Access a full line of personal and professional insurance products at group rates.
  • Verizon Wireless - Receive a 22% discount off your wireless cell service.
  • FedEx - Receive 15% to 27% off selected ground and overnight services.
  • Whirlpool - Access VIP program and receive substantialsavings on appliances for the office or home.
Review MDS Affinity Programs

I have other questions. Who can I speak with?

Click here to contact us through the web site, or call us at (800) 342-8747.

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