Bulletin of Dental Education

Around the Dental Education Community - August 2010

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University of New England Receives Donation for New Dental School

Photo courtesy University of New EnglandThe University of New England (UNE) received its largest gift to date in support of the establishment of a college of dental medicine. The $2.3 million gift from Northeast Delta Dental will go toward the university's estimated $15 million start-up costs.

The donation was a tri-state commitment. Delta Dental Plan of Maine contributed $2 million, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation provided a $100,000 grant, and the Delta Dental Plan of Vermont and the Delta Dental Plan of New Hampshire gifted $100,000 in support of the college. "This substantial and incredibly generous gift from Northeast Delta Dental provides a huge boost to our effort to make the UNE College of Dental Medicine a reality," said Dr. Harley G. Knowles, UNE Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

The UNE plans to establish a college of dental medicine to address both access to care and the shortage of dentists in the region. The college plans to hire senior faculty and administrators to prepare for accreditation, curriculum, recruitment, and clinical affiliations in 2011 and enroll its first class in fall 2012. It will emphasize community dentistry, dental public health and prevention, excellence in clinical dentistry, an integrated health care approach to dental education, and population-based health research.

$1.86M Study Examines Methamphetamine Effect on Oral Health

Dentists are often able to spot preliminary signs of disease in their patients. As of 2003, an estimated 5.2% of the American population had used methamphetamines once in their lifetime, and as this number continues to rise, dentists can make a significant impact on health if trained to spot the early warning signs of "meth mouth," the extensive tooth decay associated with meth use. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is conducting a four-year study on the oral and dental consequences of methamphetamine use, supported by a National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse $1.86 million grant.

Dr. Vivek Shetty, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at UCLA, is the principal investigator. For the study, he intends to build on his previous research, which provided the first systematic evidence of higher rates of oral disease among methamphetamine abusers. "Methamphetamine use is a persistent and pernicious social problem. Dr. Shetty's research will address the 'meth mouth' issue with the scientific rigor that this public health issue deserves," said Dr. No-Hee Park, Dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry. "Research projects such as this one underscore our school's commitment to improving the oral health of our communities and advancing clinical practice through scholarship."

Meth mouth suffers describe their teeth as blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling, or falling apart. This new research looks to dentists as potential identifiers of users who can direct them to proper medical and dental treatment. "Our finding that dental disease is a prominent marker of methamphetamine use creates opportunities to implement targeted interventions in the dental office - a hitherto unexploited setting in the management of this epidemic," Dr. Shetty said. "Funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse will allow us to further characterize methamphetamine's oral disease burden so as to support dental professionals who, as oral health specialists, are in a unique position to detect the drug's use and participate as integral members of a collaborative care team tending to methamphetamine users."

NBA Team Provides an Assist to Arizona School of Dentistry and Community

Photograph courtesy of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral HealthThe Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) was the recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Phoenix Suns Charities. Funds will be used to provide restorative care to 16 underserved elementary school children. The children will be selected from more than 300 who received dental care at the ASDOH Give Kids a Smile Day in April 2010.

The win-win situation will provide pediatric dentistry students with restorative care experience and children with treatment many would otherwise not receive. According to the Arizona Dental Foundation, 31% of Arizona children have never had a dental checkup. "This grant is a tribute to our mission and instills in our students a commitment to public health and to serve people in need," said ASDOH Dean Jack Dillenberg.

The Phoenix Suns Charities uses the unique resources of the Suns organization to raise funds benefiting nonprofit organizations assisting children and families. Since its inception in 1988, the Phoenix Suns Charities have donated more than $10 million to Arizona organizations, helping children and families across the state.

Indiana University Past and Present Faculty Continue 9th Edition of Textbook

Indiana University School of Dentistry Dean Emeritus Ralph E. McDonaldTwo long-time, highly esteemed dental educators have been recognized for their contributions to dental education by having one of the most popular pediatric dentistry textbooks renamed in their honor. Indiana University (IU) School of Dentistry Dean Emeritus Ralph E. McDonald, the original and current editor, and IU Professor Emeritus David R. Avery, co-editor, will be the namesakes of the McDonald and Avery's Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent.

The now 90-year-old Dr. McDonald served on the IU dental faculty for 29 years and as Chair of Pediatric Dentistry and Dean before retiring in 1985. He compiled the original text from his faculty lecture notes in 1963. Dr. Avery also served as head of pediatric dentistry and on the IU faculty for 25 years before retiring in 2005. Both continue their involvement with the book, now in its ninth edition.

IU School of Dentistry Executive Associate Dean Jeffrey A. Dean has continued in the IU tradition and serves as the primary editor. Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent is the work of 44 authors and three pediatric dentistry scholars who graduated from IU's dental program. The 720-page book earned the distinction a decade ago of surpassing all other pediatric dentistry textbooks in the nation in number of editions, and the book is believed to hold the world record as well. Publisher Mosby Elsevier launched the ninth edition this year with a 2011 publication date.

UCSF Study Links Mother's Tooth Decay to Child's

A University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study examining the oral health of rural Hispanic families found that untreated tooth decay in mothers almost doubled the odds of tooth decay in children.

The findings indicate a strong relationship between the oral health of mothers and their children, the authors say. They also suggest that entire families need access to dental health education, prevention, and treatment.

"These results translate into key messages for parents, dentists, and policy makers," said Dr. Jane A. Weintraub, Director of UCSF's Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health and Chair of the Division of Oral Epidemiology and Dental Public Health. "The oral health of parents, especially moms, can impact the oral health of children, so dentists should include the whole family in the dental care process - not just the individual in the chair - to prevent future disease."

Although a specific population was analyzed in this study, its conclusions are likely to be valid for other populations because bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from person to person, including mother-to-child, the authors say. Almost half of the mothers studied and more than a fourth of the children and adolescents in this population had untreated tooth decay.

"This can occur, for example, from a mother tasting a child's food and then using the same spoon to feed her child," said Dr. Weintraub. "Dentists should encourage all family members to get treatment, especially if a child already has tooth decay, and provide the family with the preventive measures, knowledge, and skills to help prevent future disease," Dr. Weintraub added.

The study was conducted as part of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research-funded Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health at the UCSF School of Dentistry. The findings of the study are published online in the Journal of Dental Research.

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