Rota-Dent was started in the late 1960s by A-dec’s founder Ken Austin. A-dec started donating dental equipment in 1966. At that time the equipment came from returns, demos, and repaired items that could not be resold. Then around 1967-1968 demand for a portable dental unit to do missionary dental work abroad began to surface. Ken designed a special protable dental unit that could be built by Rotary volunteers. A-dec donated the parts and the Newberg Rotary Club supplied the labor to assemble and ship the units. Over time assembly of the Rota-Dent units was moved back inside A-dec and the finished unit was donated to the Newberg Rotary Clubs. This made the unit’s progress through the company’s rigorous quality control system quicker and less costly.
In 1994 rotary hand instruments were added to Rota-Dent. A-dec had become the North American distributor for W&H Dental work which manufactures precision dental handsets. The owner of W&H, Mr. Peter Malata, is also a Rotarian. He agreed to donate the handsets as part of the Rota-Dent unit.
More recently A-dec implemented a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) computer system that makes it more efficient to use a standard A-dec portable dental unit (PAC-1) vs. building a special Rota-Dent unit.
Today the Rota-Dent program is overseen by a board of five directors made up of two members from each of the two Newberg Rotary Clubs, one Austin family representative, and an A-dec liaison. Together with its Rotary volunteers the Board administers the Rota-Dent program and coordinates the distributions of the Rota-dent units throughout the world.