President/Executive Director: Dr. Robert Zena


Mailing Address:

Robert Zena D.M.D.
3939 Old Brownsboro Rd
Louisville, KY

From the Desk of Dr. Robert Zena,

     Chief Executive Officer and President of the American Teledentistry Association

     Former President of the American Association of Dental Boards

     Founder of the Accredited Continuing Education Program of the AADB {ACE)

     Committee Member of the US Coalition for Teledentistry Access

     World’s Top 100 Dentists in 2022

     Vietnam Veteran 


I am pleased to announce that I have the honor of serving as the new CEO and President of the American Teledentistry Association (ATDA).  I am excited about this opportunity to lead ATDA and enthusiastic about the new board members we are bringing on to advocate for expanded access to care through telehealth technologies.  As we all know, oral health is key to overall health, and it is incumbent upon each of us to do our part to expand access to all.

Our Mission

The American Teledentistry Association’s mission is to advocate for the rights of patients to have expanded access to oral health care. The organization’s commitment is to remove barriers to better oral health, particularly for the many unserved and underserved segments of the population that have historically lacked access. It is no secret that minority, rural and economically disadvantaged populations have been denied access to oral care for too long. ATDA is committed to changing that dynamic.  

To support our mission, we advocate for the advancement and proliferation of teledentistry. Telehealth technology is key to removing the longstanding barriers to care – cost, geography, and time. We serve as a network for collaboration by stakeholders supporting the advancement of oral health care access and treatment.  These stakeholders are comprised of individuals, organizations, associations, and companies who want to ensure the rights of patients to access care, share data and receive treatment through advances in technology. Importantly, this collaborative effort enables the ATDA to give a voice to underserved populations who are most negatively impacted by artificial barriers to care, and are also the least likely to be able to fight for access effectively themselves. We will serve as a connection for these communities to advocate for forward-thinking telehealth policies with other trade associations, legislators, regulators and other policymakers. 

Technology is Moving Faster than Statutory and Regulatory Frameworks

Teledentistry, like telehealth in general, is a relatively recent innovation that continues to evolve rapidly. The use of telehealth, including teledentistry, was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the speed of change has left policymakers aiming at a moving target without sufficient awareness of how new policies may impact their constituents. In addition to legitimate policymaking challenges, some state dental boards and associations are determined to operate in a protectionist manner, impeding innovations that could dramatically improve access.  One thing is clear, technology will continue to advance and policymaking will need to keep up.  ATDA intends to engage in every state and at the federal level to provide a powerful voice to educate policymakers and encourage them to harness the power of telehealth technologies to expand access to care. 

From Analog to Digital

As we take healthcare from analog to digital practice, we must accept that technology is now integral to the delivery of effective diagnosis and treatment of patients. Teledentistry is dentistry, the entire community of clinicians, innovators and policymakers must embrace this new paradigm.  

Freedom to Choose is Fundamental to Healthcare

The freedom to choose, particularly to choose one’s medical care, is an important tenant of being an American. We value, and should be encouraged in, our ability to pursue treatment and communicate with healthcare providers in a manner of our own choosing.  That includes having access to care, the ability to share data and to employ the use of modern technology in whatever manner is clinically appropriate. Despite these universal American values, some state dental boards and trade associations tirelessly and shamelessly seek to undermine access, including ongoing annual attempts to enact anti-competitive regulations that require costly in-person office visits and exposure to unnecessary x-rays, as well as other mandatory exams that are de facto in-person requirements that are typically not necessary to receive care through a teledentistry model, let alone on a mandatory, blanket basis.  Unfortunately, these same entities are often controlled by active market participants; essentially, practicing dentists who benefit monetarily from the anti-competitive policies they support as members or individually.  This conflict-of-interest harms patients and limits access to care. 

The Supreme Court addressed this inherent conflict of interest in their decision North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, holding therein that state boards captured by active market participants risk violating federal antitrust law.  Notwithstanding this important decision, anti-competitive rulemaking persists in some states resulting in increased legal costs to the states and dental boards, and precluding access to care. As a profession, we should be fighting artificial restrictions and doing what we can to improve access to care, whether through the use of dental auxiliaries, mobile dental units or the use of telehealth.  


It is incumbent on all oral health providers, whether a sole practitioner, a large DSO or government public health agency, to promote, not prohibit, the use of teledentistry. This will enable new patients to access their practices, giving them a pathway to care that was previously not possible. Making this process simple and easy, will result in reducing the number of people who never or seldom receive oral care and will ultimately lead to a healthier population and a reduction in the cost of overall healthcare.