In the early 1950s, trustees of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union agreed to finance an experimental program to provide dental care to the children of union members.
With agreement from the Washington State Dental Association, the Washington State Dental Service Corporation was created. This organization would eventually evolve into what is now known as DD/WDS. Launched as a pilot program that few thought would last the year, DD/WDS pioneered a new industry and has become the leading dental benefits company in the state of Washington. After more than 50 years, we still maintain the legacy of providing pre-paid, employer-sponsored dental benefits.
Today, we continue our mission of improving oral health for everyone.
- An experimental dental program for children of members of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union launches. Washington State Dental Service Corporation (WSDSC) is created.
- The program expands to cover emergency dental treatment for children of welfare recipients and accidental damage to the teeth of school children.
- WSDSC begins providing limited services to adults.
- The name changes to Washington Dental Service.
- Introduces an incentive program offering greater coverage for subscribers who visit the dentist regularly.
- Undergoes rapid expansion, adding contracts with The Boeing Company (20,000 hourly workers) and Washington Education Association (30,000 employees).
- Washington Dental Service officially separates from the Washington State Dental Association.
- Washington Dental Service Foundation is established to support research, education and public service programs related to oral health.
- DD/WDS creates a new preferred provider organization (PPO) plan in response to client demand.
- DD/WDS introduces the SmileMobile – a 40-foot dental office on wheels – to provide dental care to low-income children throughout Washington.
- James D. Dwyer, current president and CEO, joins DD/WDS.
- A customer service and claims center opens in Colville as part of a pilot program to bring urban jobs to rural communities using technology.
- With a shared commitment to reducing oral disease and improving overall health, DD/WDS makes a significant investment in the WDS Foundation to launch its strategic, long-term systems change initiatives and policy enhancements.
- DD/WDS and WDS Foundation make a $5 million contribution to the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center to establish the Washington Dental Service Early Childhood Oral Health center at Magnuson Park. The center will expand capacity to provide dental care to children in low-income families.
- DD/WDS and WDS Foundation provide $1 million to launch KC Kids, a one-year-pilot to provide dental care to children of low-income families in King County, using WDS’s Delta Dental PPO network.
- DD/WDS opens a new office in Spokane to expand service in Eastern Washington.
- DD/WDS reaches one million primary subscribers.