REVIEW – July – August 2008

Dental unions in Estonia 1921–2008


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The Estonian Society of Stomatology (ESS) and the Estonian Dental Association (EDA) were merged to form one organisation in August 2007. The new organisation bears the name Estonian Dental Association and has the logo of the Estonian Society of Stomatology, the Estonian national flower, cornflower, with little teeth on the petals. The first Estonian Dental Society was established in 1921 in Tartu which united dentists of various nationalities. In all periods dental unions have carried out a number of similar activities: continuous postgraduate training, consulting the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Insurance Fund concerning oral health care and prices for dental treatment for the local population, as well as presenting of the interests of dentists to the government. The article reviews  the activities of dental organisations during the periods 1921–1940, 1954–1997 and 1998–2007. In the 1990s the ESS and the EDA, the two most important dentists’ organisations in the Republic of Estonia, were functioning in parallel, having almost similar goals and statutes, sometimes duplicating activities, sometimes competing with each-other. Such a situation was confusing for state authorities as well as for foreign partners and members. It was evident that all dentists should be incorporated into one representative organisation, to consolidate manpower and to represent the Estonian dental community world-wide. In 1997 the first joint boards’ meeting took place in Tartu, followed by a cooperation agreement in 1998 and merging of manpower and resources in 2007.