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Career in academic dentistry may boost next generation

September 01, 2014

By Kimber Solana

Have you ever thought about academic dentistry? Whether you are just beginning your dental career, are well established or approaching the end of your private practice career, dental academics may be the right choice. There are a number of opportunities today for volunteer, part-time and full-time dental faculty.

Dentists seeking information on academic dentistry may find answers from various resources, including, a website developed by faculty at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, and a program during ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio.

Teach Dentistry, which began in 2012 and is supported with the Health Resources and Services Administration Title VII training grant, is designed to provide dental practitioners with information about the different aspects of dental education and to assist in identifying a mentor throughout the country.

“There are tremendous advantages to an academic career,” said Dr. Joseph McManus, associate professor of dental medicine at Columbia University. “It provides a stable income with an opportunity to have an impact on the next generation of dentists. There is nothing more satisfying than to see a student grow and develop under your guidance.”

Teach Dentistry continues to evolve as more educators contribute to the website. Any practitioner who is curious about teaching is encouraged to go on the website to answer their questions about teaching and seriously consider contributing to the next generation of colleagues, said Dr. Burton Edelstein, a professor of dental medicine at Columbia University.

“Even before the recent expansions of dental schools, there has been a
long-standing need for additional dental school faculty because of the graying of existing faculty and the increasing demand by students for ever more personalized education,” he said.

In addition, if you are attending ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio, you may be interested in the Saturday, Oct. 11, program titled “Transitioning from Practice to Dental Education.”  To register, visit

The program is an opportunity to learn about moving from a career in dental practice to a career in dental education. The program presents a picture of all aspects of academic life, its advantages and disadvantages and its opportunities and challenges.

Three experienced dental educators will present practical information regarding applying for and obtaining an academic appointment: Dr. John N. Williams Jr., dean, Indiana University School of Dentistry; Dr. Diane C. Hoelscher, chair, Department of Patient Management at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry; and Dr. Brad J. Potter, senior associate dean for academic affairs, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine.

“Opportunities for dentists in academia abound,” Dr. Edelstein said. “Schools are looking both for full- and part-time faculty, for clinicians, mentors, research advisors, classroom teachers, program administrators — the full gamut of professionals who can meaningfully contribute to the development of the next generation of colleagues.”