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Student team presents winning table clinic

Honolulu—Two fourth-year dental students from the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Dental School were the winners of the ADA's Education Exchange Competition at annual session Oct. 3.

Angela M. Mathew and Neker E. Bernuy won the newly redesigned table clinic competition with their presentation, Indirect Method of Retainer Fabrication and Its Utilization In Different Disciplines of Dentistry.

"Our desire to present at a very prestigious meeting with our creativity and imagination and our desire to contribute a cost-efficient technique to the general dentist community was our motivation," said Ms. Mathew. "The indirect method of retainer fabrication has been long used in orthodontics and our idea was to take this technique and expand its use in other disciplines of dentistry like prosthodontics, implantology, periodontics, preventive dentistry and orthodontics. Our aim was to make the general dentist aware of its use and other applications."

The technique, Ms. Mathew added, uses materials available in the dental office. "It is fast, easy, reliable, predictable and saves a lot of chair time for both the dentist and the patient."

Entrants submitted their clinics in a PowerPoint format several weeks before annual session. A panel from the Council on ADA Sessions judged the presentations. Clinics were displayed on a continuous loop at the Competition Hub on the exhibit floor at the Hawaii Convention Center.

This format gives presenters a chance to showcase their work in research or clinical techniques in a modernized format and gives attendees a chance to learn and earn an hour of continuing education credit when they visit the exhibit floor.

"Table clinics have long been a traditional way for dentists to share what they know," said Dr. Stephen W. Carstensen, 2009 program chair for annual session and 2010 chair for the Council on ADA Sessions. "The inaugural Educational Exchange Competition at annual session brought back table clinics in a fresh new format. Every dental professional—from researchers and practitioners to students—can share their knowledge with colleagues from around the world at our meeting. It's exciting to see one of our profession's greatest traditions continue. This is an example of how the ADA annual session is leading the profession in learning."

The winners teamed up for the annual session competition with backgrounds that included presenting table clinics in their home countries, said Ms. Mathew. Both are a part of the International Dentist Education Program at UTHSCSA dental school, a specific program that accepts foreign trained dentists to earn their DDS degree.

"I graduated from dental school in Karnataka, India, in 2003, and my partner from dental school in Lima, Peru, in 2002," she said. "We both came from different countries to the United States to pursue our goals of becoming dentists here in the USA. We are both highly motivated individuals who have previously done a number of table clinics back in our respective countries and so we decided it would be a good fit if we formed a team and did a table clinic here at our school."

After winning first place at the UTHSCSA dental school competition, the duo modified the presentation to target general dentists and enlisted the support of faculty to enter the ADA competition.

"I plan to further pursue advanced general dentistry education," said Ms. Mathew, "and I am aware Neker is pursuing a future in orthodontics. Our passion for dentistry began a long time ago and will continue for years to come. I hope it reflects in our work as well as the services we provide to those in need and those around us."