Dental Students Earn Student Clinician Award at ADA Competition
Dental Students Earn Student Clinician Award at ADA Competition

Second-year dental students Michael Tewes and Alexa Roseberry took second-place honors at the American Dental Association (ADA)/DENTSPLY student clinician research competition in Denver, Colo. on October 22. Tewes and Roseberry were mentored by Kirstin McCarville, DDS’05, associate professor of prosthodontics and Andrea Hall, DDS’11, assistant professor of prosthodontics. Their project won the local Table Clinics competition and was selected to represent Creighton School of Dentistry at the ADA meeting.

Table clinic research projects are part of the Introduction to Research course taught by Dr. Sonia Rocha-Sanchez, the Assistant Dean of Research, during the first-year of Dental School. Students are organized into groups and paired up with a faculty mentor. Tewes and Roseberry began their project in February and finished the first round of trials in March. All of the freshman table clinic groups then presented and one group was selected to go to ADA/DENTSPLY Sirona competition.

“We were thrilled and excited to be selected because we spent a lot of time working with Drs. Rocha-Sanchez, McCarville and Hall and it felt like our hard work was recognized,” said Roseberry. “Because we would present it again, Michael and I did two more trials over the summer semester so that we we’re sure to have solid results.” 

The research project evaluated the levels of bacterial microleakage that occurs at the access channel of screw-retained internal hex abutment implants. They tested four different filling materials: cotton pellets, Teftlon tape, polyvinylsiloxane, and gutta percha and found that the polyvinylsiloxane was the most optimal filling material (of those tested) in regards to bacterial microleakage, as it showed to have the least amount of bacterial growth. 

The research involved growing media and bacteria, and then submerging the abutment/implant complexes once they were filled and sealed. The dual measured bacteria concentration using a spectrophotometer with four valid trials for a total of 80 samples analyzed. 

Tewes and Roseberry led fellow students Dung Nguyen, Toby Odejimi, Travis Hogan, Will Gudenrath, Michael Walek and Skylor Morton in the study.  The research was carried out at the Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory, in the Department of Oral Biology and counted with the valuable technical assistance of Umesh Pyakurel and Shikha Tarang, PhD. Dr. Martha Nunn, the Director of the Center for Oral Health Research, worked with the students to carry out the statistical analyses.

Seventy-five students presented their research at the October competition, where 63 represented U.S.  dental schools, 11 international schools, and one student hygienist. The majority of students were in their third and fourth years, unlike Creighton’s second-year representatives.

“I thought that we were completely out of our league knowing these other students were further along in their programs and they had been doing this research well over a year,” said Roseberry. “The Creighton faculty really prepared us well and taught us a lot in regards to our research project. I feel quite honored.”  

All students that were invited to present were also awarded a membership into the Student Clinician Research Program (SCADA) of the ADA. A membership into SCADA is only awarded when one is selected to present at this conference.

“This is a prestigious award and a great incentive to their future professional careers,” said Rocha-Sanchez. “Moreover, it speaks highly on the quality of the research carried out by our faculty and students at Creighton School of Dentistry.”