The suggested colors for the insignia are: the background, a shade of lilac—the official academic color of dentistry; the letter Ο in gold; the letter Δ in black; the cautery in gold outlined in black, and the leaves, berries and serpent merely outlined in black on the lilac background.

The National Association of Dental Faculties in 1897 chose the color lilac as the profession’s major color. The color trims dental schools’ graduation gowns and caps and may be found in dental banners, emblems, insignia, signs, symbols and publications.

This dental insignia was adopted by the American Dental Association in November 1965 as the official emblem of dentistry.

The design uses as its central figure a serpent entwined about an ancient Arabian cautery in the manner of the single serpent of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, coiled about a rod.

The Greek letter Δ (delta), for dentistry, and the Greek letter Ο (omicron), for odont (tooth) form the periphery of the design.

In the background of the design are 32 leaves and 20 berries, representative of the permanent and temporary teeth.

Dental Trivia