In the 1840s, dentistry quickly changed from a field largely perceived as being composed of incompetents to a field with high standards, thanks to the formation of a dental school, a regional society and a journal. The field was further solidified in 1859, when 26 dentists traveled to Niagara Falls, N.Y., to form the first national society, the American Dental Association (ADA). The society's goal was to promote the profession by enhancing the integrity and ethics of dentists. The following year, the ADA held its first annual meeting, during which the first constitution and bylaws were adopted. Six years later, on this date in 1865, Dr. John Allen proposed the association's first code of ethics. Today, the 141,000 members of the American Dental Association agree to abide by the "ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct" as a condition of their membership.
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