Prior to 1960, dentists practicing in The Bahamas met only casually to discuss their profession and the role they played in meeting the dental needs of the country.
On one such occasion in 1959, they decided that there was a dire need for a Public Dental Officer to serve the ever increasing indigent population. The four active dental practitioners at the time, Dr. Raymond Sawyer, Dr. Jackson Burnside, Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr. and Dr. Paul Albury, manned a make-shift dental clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital (formerly Bahamas General Hospital). The group put forth a proposal to the government authorities for a full-time hospital dentist. This resulted in the appointment of a recent graduate, Dr. Cyril Vanderpool as the first Government Dental Officer in September of 1960.
The occasional professional and social encounters resulted in lengthy discussions about treatment modalities, cases being treated and the future of dentistry in The Bahamas. As a result, it was unanimously decided to form a dental society. Although several meetings were held at the library of the Princess Margaret Hospital in 1960, it was not until Drs. Norman Cove and Hal Leyland increased the number of dentist to seven, that the society was formally constituted and the name Bahama Islands Dental Association was adopted. Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr. became the founding president, with Dr. Cyril Vanderpool serving as secretary. (Following the country's independence in 1973, the association's name was changed to The Bahamas Dental Association)
Dr. Sidney Sweeting and Dr. John Louis were soon to join the ranks. With this increase in membership, the association was able to address a number of issues relating to the profession. In the early 1960's, efforts began to update legislation regulating the profession. This culminated in the passage of The Dental Act 1989.
Currently there are over 80 registered dentists in The Bahamas, including specialists in the areas of oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and dental public health.