TeamSmiles Makes Smiles for Kids

On August 3, 2018, UMKC School of Dentistry third and fourth year dental students from the Students Take Action organization and Pediatric Dentistry Club volunteered at a special TeamSmile event. Students from second, third and fourth year dental classes also joined in. This TeamSmile event was hosted by the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.  Royals greats John Mayberry and Dennis Leonard were on hand, passing out their baseball cards and greeting the children.  Local dentists, students and volunteers provided free dental care for almost 300 children. Dr. Bill Busch was inspired to partner with professional athletic teams to provide free dental care to children after he heard the story of Deamonte Driver started TeamSmile.  Find photos from the event here.

Celebrating Accomplishments Of 2018 AEP Participants

On Thursday, July 26, the School of Dentistry gathered to celebrate the accomplishment of students participating in the 2018 Admissions Enhancement Program (AEP). The AEP is an intense, ten-week summer program designed to support prospective DDS students as they get ready to apply to dental school. The program helps students study for the Dental Admissions Test through eight weeks of online modules led by UMKC faculty, incorporating supplemental instruction, practice DAT tests, and access to the online CE Webinar. In addition, students spend two weeks onsite where they learn valuable study and test-taking skills, receive personal statement feedback, practice interviewing with faculty, engage with panels of dental professionals, and participate in hands-on learning experiences in the clinic and pre-clinical lab. The AEP is committed to partnering with students from underrepresented, rural, and disadvantaged backgrounds who are motivated to attend dental school.

This year’s AEP group consisted of twelve students from nine states including Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

The UMKC School of Dentistry wishes the 2018 AEP students the best of luck as they take their DAT and apply for dental school!

Enjoy photos from the event.

$1.8MM Grant Awarded Researcher To Develop Longer-Lasting Restorative Materials

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, has recently awarded UMKC School of Dentistry a five-year R01 grant totaling ~$1.84 million to develop the next generation, longer-lasting materials for restorative dentistry. Yong Wang, PhD, Professor of Biomaterials, is the principal investigator on the grant.
In general practices, nearly 70% of all operative dentistry is devoted to the replacement of failed restorations. The emphasis on replacement therapy is only expected to grow as people are living longer and with increased age, there is an increased risk for loss of tooth structure due to deep or root caries requiring large restorations. The failure rate is significantly higher for these restorations, with an average replacement time of only 5-7 years.

“The reduced clinical longevity and survival rates can be extremely detrimental to patients because removal of these failed restorations often results in significant increase in cavity volume, and extensive loss of tooth structure,” says Wang. “Over the lifetime of a patient, the additional loss of tooth structure will translate to enlarged and more complex restorations and eventually total tooth loss, which means increased cost to the patient in terms of both time and money. Clearly, there is an urgent public health need for new dental restorative materials with significantly increased service life.”

The premature failure of these restorations has been traced to a breakdown of the bond at the tooth surface/restorative material interface, can be linked to the failure of current materials to consistently seal and adhere to dentin. This new grant will support development of novel restorative materials with new chemistry for robust dentin bonding. This new approach will create strong interfacial interactions which lead to durable bond for restorative materials and thus to enhance the service life of dental restorations.

Zhonghua Peng, a professor of chemistry and Mary P Walker, a professor and prosthodontist are the co-investigators of this five-year grant.

Head & Neck Cancer Living Foundation Renews Support for Patients

The Head & Neck Cancer Living Foundation has renewed support for patients receiving care at UMKC School of Dentistry with $325k grant over 2 years.

In July 2018, the Head & Neck Cancer (HNC) Living Foundation renewed its support for the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry’s Dental Care for Head and Neck Cancer Patients program with a grant of $325k over 2 years (PI: Dr. Mary P. Walker). The HNC Living Foundation – based out of Overland Park, KS – is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance for head and neck cancer patients to improve their treatment, recovery, and quality of life. The foundation was formed in 2013 by Tom and Teresa Walsh after Teresa was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in her jawbone. After experiencing the physical, financial, and emotional challenges of head and neck cancer firsthand and witnessing the difficulties experienced by other patients, the Walshes were inspired to form the HNC Living Foundation. In addition to providing grant support to UMKC, the HNC Living Foundation has collaborated with other local institutions including Cancer Action, Truman Medical Centers, Turning Point, and the University of Kansas Health System to help head and neck cancer patients live life fully, during and after cancer treatment. Although starting locally, the foundation’s vision is to become a national resource of financial assistance for head and neck cancer patients. This is the second round of support granted to UMKC School of Dentistry by the HNC Living Foundation.

The collaboration between the HNC Living Foundation and UMKC School of Dentistry began in late 2016 when Chris Uithoven, Executive Director at HNC Living Foundation, and Dr. Mary P. Walker, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Programs at UMKC School of Dentistry, began discussions about how to improve access to dental care for head and neck cancer patients in the Kansas City region. Dr. Walker’s background includes NIDCR-funded research focused on understanding the mechanism of radiotherapy-induced dentition breakdown, so she had an expert’s familiarity with oral and dental complications associated with head and neck cancer radiotherapy treatment. These complications are especially debilitating for patients’ quality of life, as traditional medical insurance typically does not cover pre-and post-cancer dental treatment. For this reason, HNC Living Foundation’s financial assistance to patients who would normally not be able to afford dental treatment is truly life changing.

In January 2017, the HNC Living Foundation granted the UMKC School of Dentistry $225,900 to provide dental care for uninsured and underinsured head and neck cancer (HNC) referred to the Advanced Education Clinic within the UMKC School of Dentistry from any regional medical center. The grant included coverage for dental care required prior to starting cancer therapy (pre-care) and follow-up ongoing dental care after cancer therapy (post-care). Expected outcomes of the partnership between UMKC and the HNC Living Foundation were the reduction in oral complications, decrease in cost of care, and pain prevention. Additional outcomes resulted in improvements in quality of life and the likelihood that the patient would successfully complete planned cancer treatment. The funds from the initial grant made it possible for 167 head and neck cancer patients to receive dental care at the UMKC School of Dentistry between January 2017 and June 2018.

The HNC Living Foundation has awarded the UMKC School of Dentistry an additional 2 year $325,000 grant that is projected to benefit approximately 200-225 patients. The continued partnership between UMKC and the HNC Living Foundation is making it possible to provide head and neck cancer patients – both new and returning – with essential dental care by well-trained clinicians.

UMKC Welcomes New Chancellor

The new UMKC Chancellor, C. Mauli Agrawal, launched his tenure June 20, 2018.

Agrawal comes to UMKC after 15 years at the University of Texas-San Antonio, where he progressed from professor to dean to vice president and interim provost. He is a native of India, a U.S. citizen, a bioengineer, oil painting hobbyist, former auto industry executive, an inventor who holds 29 patents and an entrepreneur whose bioengineering research group has been responsible for starting three companies in San Antonio.

He calls his new home town “a city on the rise.”

“Kansas City is an economically strong region that is poised to have a national impact,” he said. “As a public university, we can be one of the anchors for this great region. We’re ready and we have a great team.”

Read more about Chancellor Agrawal’s arrival.

Taking a Big Step – Members of the DDS Class of 2020 and the DH Class of 2019 Transition into the Profession

Members of the DDS Class of 2020 and the DH Class of 2019 were welcomed to the clinical phase of their educational programs during the annual Transitioning into the Profession Ceremony, held Friday, June 1, 2018, at the Folly Theater. Dr. Simon MacNeill, Professor, Department of Periodontics, welcomed everyone before introducing the keynote speaker, Dr. Emily Day, UMKC SOD alumna and owner of Sunny Day Pediatric Dentistry. Representatives of the DH Class of 2019 and the DDS Class of 2020 took turns reading their respective Code of Ethics, which were then signed by each class member as they crossed the stage to be presented with a white coat (DDS students) or scrubs (DH students). Following the ceremony, participants and well-wishers adjourned to the School of Dentistry for a reception.

Enjoy photos from the event.

Watch the video from the proceeding.

Helping Sport Smiles with TeamSmile

On May 11, 2018, third year dental students from UMKC School of Dentistry, along with students from the school’s Students Take Action community organization and the school’s Pedodontic Dentistry Club volunteered at TeamSmile. First and second year dental students who had just finished finals for the year joined these these third year students at the event. Dr. Bill Busch was inspired to partner with professional athletic teams to provide free dental care to children after he heard the story of Deamonte Driver, starting TeamSmile. This TeamSmile event was held at Children’s Mercy Park with Sporting KC. Local dentists, students and volunteers provided over $46,664 worth of free dental care for the 123 children who received dental services.  Photos from the event.

Welcoming the Dental Hygiene Class of 2020

The Office of Student Programs hosted incoming dental hygiene students at its first Dental Hygiene Welcome Reception on Friday, April 27th, 2018. Members of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2020, guests, and the UMKC School of Dentistry community had an opportunity to come together and celebrate the students’ acceptance to the UMKC Division of Dental Hygiene. This event offers information to students about the path ahead, including next steps and financial aid, as well as providing students with the opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity in our pre-clinical lab.

90 percent of the incoming students were in attendance at this optional program. They will return to the School of Dentistry on August 15 to begin their first year in the dental hygiene program. The incoming class is represented by students from Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. They all excelled in their prerequisite courses. They have observational or dental assisting experience in the field, and have participated in a wide variety of different community service projects within their communities.  Photos here.