Bulletin of Dental Education

Dr. David Felton, Dean of UMMC SOD, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award From ACP

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David Felton, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of the University of
Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, right,
receives the Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award
from Robert M. Taft, D.D.S., FACP, Immediate Past
President of the American College of Prosthodontists.

David Felton, D.D.S., M.S., Dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry (UMMC SOD), received the Dan Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Prosthodontists in November 2018.

The award is named after Dr. Daniel F. Gordon, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II and later went on to become a private practitioner and educator in prosthodontics.

“I’m very humbled and very honored to receive it,” Dr. Felton says, calling it “truly a highlight of my career in prosthodontics.”

Dr. Felton, who served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Prosthodontics and is the 22nd recipient of the award, was chosen for his research, among other achievements. 

“Dr. Felton has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of prosthodontic research and understanding,” says Susan Brackett, D.D.S., M.S., FACP, Past President of the American College of Prosthodontists and Chair of the Nominating Committee, in a press release announcing the award. “Perhaps most renowned among Dr. Felton’s research is his examination of the relationship between tooth loss and other simultaneously existing conditions, which is often quoted to support the important relationship between oral health and overall health,” she says.

Dr. Felton’s research shows a correlation between poor oral health and diseases, such as diabetes, various heart conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, certain types of cancer and a host of other illnesses.

As a result, Dr. Felton can often be heard speaking of his goal to “put the mouth back into the body”—that is, to ensure all health professionals are educated about the link between oral health and overall health. 

Days after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Felton was elected President of the American Board of Prosthodontics (ABP). The Board is responsible for examining prosthodontists for specialty recognition after they complete their three-year training. 

Dr. Felton takes on the role as one of only eight prosthodontists in the state. He is also the only dental school dean with that specialty.

“There’s a huge need for additional specialists here, in particular prosthodontists,” Dr. Felton says. While his future goal is to add a graduate program in prosthodontics to UMMC SOD’s repertoire, his role as ABP President will involve overseeing and updating the five-part, year-long examination process prospective prosthodontists must undergo. 

“It’s a laborious process because we’re always updating (two sections) of the exam, and then we also administer the exams,” he explains. “It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun.”

Dr. Felton received his D.D.S. and M.S. in prosthodontics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry (UNC SOD). He joined the UNC SOD faculty in 1984 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics. He served as Director of Graduate Prosthodontics for four years and as Chair of the Prosthodontics Department for a decade before rejoining the faculty as a full professor. 

He became Dean of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry in 2011. After three years as Dean, he was a Professor in the school’s Department of Restorative Dentistry before becoming Dean of UMMC SOD in 2016. 

Courtesy of Kate Royals, Editor/Writer in Public Affairs, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Published on July 10, 2019

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