Bulletin of Dental Education

Around the Dental Education Community - January 2010

(General, Oral Health, Technology) Permanent link   All Posts

New College of Dental Medicine Proposed in Florida

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) will submit a proposal to the Florida Board of Governors to establish a College of Dental Medicine. If approved, the FAMU College of Dental Medicine would be the first dental school established at a historically black college or university since 1886.

Dr. Cynthia Hughes-Harris, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said if approved FAMU would also develop an undergraduate degree track that would feed students directly into the College of Dental Medicine. The college would offer a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree. Currently, the school is continuing with the launch of a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene within the FAMU School of Allied Health.

The university has plans to develop residency programs that encourage continued service to Florida's underserved rural and inner-city residents. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida is 29th in the nation in dentists per capita, with 49.4 dentists per 100,000 people. There is one dentist per 9,747 Medicaid-eligible children, and one dentist per 41,039 Medicaid-eligible adults.

"There is a tremendous need, yet very little access to oral health care," said FAMU President Dr. James H. Ammons. "FAMU not only recognizes but intends to address this need. By allowing FAMU to train students in the College of Dental Medicine, we plan to come to the aid of those communities in need."

Study Shows Nearly One-Third of Human Genome is Involved in Gingivitis

Research conducted jointly by the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and The Procter & Gamble Company has found that more than 9,000 genes, nearly 30% of the genes found in the human body, are expressed differently during the onset and healing process associated with gingivitis. Biological pathways associated with activation of the immune system were found to be the major pathways activated and critical to controlling the body's reaction to plaque buildup on the teeth. Additionally, other gene expression pathways activated during plaque overgrowth include those involved in wound healing, neural processes, and skin turnover.

Results of the study are published in the December 2009 edition of the Journal of Periodontology. This study is the first to successfully identify gene expression and biological pathways involved with the onset and healing process of gingivitis.

"The study's findings demonstrate that clinical symptoms of gingivitis reflect complicated changes in cellular and molecular processes within the body," said Dr. Steven Offenbacher, the study's lead author and Director of the UNC School of Dentistry Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases. "Understanding the thousands of individual genes and multiple systems involved in gingivitis will help explain exactly what is occurring in a person's body at the onset of the disease and how it relates to their overall health."

"Data generated by the study will be crucial in developing new approaches to treating gingivitis," said Dr. Leslie Winston, co-author of the study and Director of Professional and Scientific Relations at The Procter & Gamble Company. "We plan to conduct additional research to identify biomarkers of gum disease in at risk individuals and hope that this will lead to new and more advanced treatment options and preventative measures."

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and The Procter & Gamble Company.

University of Illinois at Chicago Dedicates Pediatric Dentistry Clinic

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry recently dedicated the Delta Dental of Illinois Predoctoral Pediatric Dentistry Clinic, which will expand their students' education about the oral health needs of children.

The new clinic will give dental students the educational experience of using the most up-to-date technologies. Nitrous oxide will be available at every unit, X-ray units are built into cabinetry, improved patient privacy meets current federal standards, and "quiet rooms" provide a serene setting for patient care. A gift by Delta Dental of Illinois made the facility possible, the state of Illinois contributed special funding, and Pelton & Crane and its sister company, KaVo, made gifts-in-kind of dental equipment and technology.

There are not enough specialty pediatric dentists in Illinois to meet the pediatric needs of the state. The UIC College of Dentistry is one of two dental schools operating in Illinois and the largest provider of pediatric dental care for children in the state. The college provides more than $2 million in uncompensated dental care every year. Of the nearly 36,000 patient visits covered by Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to the college every year, more than 19,000 are for children.

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