Fall 2018

Celebrating the Past, Preparing for the Future

Greetings! It has been a busy but vibrant year for all of us at Tufts School of Dental Medicine as we celebrate our 150th anniversary. The year has truly rushed by. I have had the opportunity to meet with alumni and celebrate at events around the world, as well as share the dental school’s accomplishments through our Digital Museum and other communications. I recently had the joy of being able to see many of our esteemed alumni at the 150th Anniversary Gala at the Museum of Science in Boston on September 28. It was a magical evening, as you can see from photos on page 28.

This issue’s cover story focuses on the technology and educational issues around dental implantology. Technology is changing rapidly, and dental implants are an important aspect of how oral health care will be delivered in the twenty-first century. Over the past few years, the number of implants placed has exploded, becoming the preferred alternative to traditional dentures. Here at Tufts, we are working to provide comprehensive education around implantology, to ensure that our students enter the workforce with the tools they need to compete in the marketplace, and provide the most cutting-edge care available. This is no small task: finding space within our curriculum is always a challenge, and rapidly changing technological developments means we must be constantly working to stay ahead of the curve. We are proud to have several faculty members who have focused expertise in this growing field, led by Wael Att, professor and chair of prosthodontics, and Ekaterini Antonellou, DG98, MSD01, DI04, director of the implant program and an associate professor of prosthodontics.

Technological advances within oral health drive several of the other stories in this issue. David Tesini, D75, DG77, AG79, discusses how he created a line of pacifiers and baby bottles with the goal of preventing damage to developing teeth in infants and toddlers.

Finally, some news I share with mixed emotions. For the past seven years, it has been my great honor to serve as Tufts School of Dental Medicine’s dean. I have been privileged to work alongside our faculty, staff, and students–the core of our vibrant institution–who every day work toward excellence in dental education and clinical care, breakthroughs in dental medicine, and civic engagement that makes a difference in the local, regional, and global community. I have also greatly enjoyed meeting and interacting with our amazing alumni and friends around the world, and relying on their guidance, mentorship, and support. Now, I must pass the torch to the next generation of leadership at the School of Dental Medicine. I will be stepping down as dean as of June 30, 2019 and will spend the next six months at Tufts doing a sabbatical on interprofessional education. This fall, the university will launch an international search for a new dean. In the meantime, I will remain as committed as ever to promoting, preserving, and expanding the school’s excellence in dental education. I plan to visit with as many members of our community as possible before my departure, to demonstrate how much your collegiality and friendship have meant to me during my time at Tufts.

I wish you, your families, and your loved ones, an enjoyable fall and winter. As always, I welcome your comments by phone, 617-636-6636, or by email, huw.thomas@tufts.edu.

Huw F. Thomas, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Pediatric Dentistry

Top Stories

The New Face of Dentistry

The School of Dental Medicine is leading the way into a bold, new future for implantology.

Heal the World

A group of committed dentists from the Alpha Omega professional fraternity is helping Holocaust survivors smile again.

Building a Better Binky

How a pediatric dentist and an engineer with the Tufts Gordon Institute are reinventing the pacifier.

The Acid Test

Can a tooth-mounted pH sensor curb an epidemic of tooth decay?

Sleep Apnea Signals

Researchers from the dental and medical schools work together to improve diagnosis and monitoring.

Editor's Picks

The Danger of Fluoride Doubt

A flood of misinformation is undermining a successful public health effort.

Compassion on Two Continents

In Africa, Sister Kay Lawlor, D68, fixed teeth, ran hospitals, and confronted health-care crises. In Massachusetts, she’s giving women who need help a new start.

O Pioneer!

After graduating from Tufts in 1966, Athena Papas passed on the dental school because she didn’t want to be the only woman in her class. She finally joined the school eight years later as an assistant professor, and in the four decades since has secured dozens of grants for groundbreaking research, helped launch countless life-changing medications and mentored generations of colleagues. Today, half of all dental students are women… and Papas seems to be just getting started.