This collection includes the historical record of the ADA Code of Ethics from 1866 to 2023. The ADA Code has three main components: The Principles of Ethics, the Code of Professional Conduct and the Advisory Opinions.

  • The Principles of Ethics are the aspirational goals of the profession. They provide guidance and offer justification for the Code of Professional Conduct and the Advisory Opinions. There are five fundamental principles that form the foundation of the ADA Code: patient autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice and veracity. Principles can overlap each other as well as compete with each other for priority. More than one principle can justify a given element of the Code of Professional Conduct. Principles may at times need to be balanced against each other, but, otherwise, they are the profession's firm guideposts.
  • The Code of Professional Conduct is an expression of specific types of conduct that are either required or prohibited. The Code of Professional Conduct is a product of the ADA's legislative system. All elements of the Code of Professional Conduct result from resolutions that are adopted by the ADA's House of Delegates. The Code of Professional Conduct is binding on members of the ADA, and violations may result in disciplinary action.
  • The Advisory Opinions are interpretations that apply the Code of Professional Conduct to specific fact situations. They are adopted by the ADA's Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs to provide guidance to the membership on how the Council might interpret the Code of Professional Conduct in a disciplinary proceeding.

After 1985, the Official Advisory Opinions and the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct are always published together as one document.

As of 2005, annual publication ceased and since then new issues/editions are published only when revisions are made to the document. There were no revisions to the Code 2006-2008 so no printed copies were issued during those years.

The most current issue is available on the ADA’s website.

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Submissions from 2018

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ADA Code of Ethics (November 2018), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2016

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ADA Code of Ethics (November 2016), American Dental Association

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ADA Code of Ethics (September 2016), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2012

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ADA Code of Ethics (April 2012), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2011

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ADA Code of Ethics (August 2011), American Dental Association

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ADA Code of Ethics (January 2011), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2009

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ADA Code of Ethics (January 2009), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2005

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ADA Code of Ethics (January 2005), American Dental Association

Submissions from 2000

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ADA Code of Ethics (January 2000), American Dental Association

Submissions from 1992

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ADA Code of Ethics (May 1992), American Dental Association

Submissions from 1990

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ADA Code of Ethics (January 1990), American Dental Association