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Student Profile: Rob Slauch, DDS '16

Written by Adam Zewe

Before he sat in his first class at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD), Rob Slauch, DDS '16, already conducted an in-depth implant dentistry research project. The first-year dental student is an author of a paper that was recently published in The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants.

The paper, "A Retrospective Comparison of Implants in the Pterygomaxillary Region: Implant Placement with Two-Stage, Single-Stage, and Guided Surgery Protocols," is the culmination of his internship at PI Dental Care near Philadelphia.

Working with Dr. Thomas Balshi, Slauch studied the survival rates of dental implants that were placed using three popular protocols: single-stage, two-stage and guided surgery. He discovered that utilizing the single-stage protocol leads to implants with the best survival rates, despite the fact that the guided surgery protocol is a newer method. "I had no idea what prosthodontics was, but I decided to take the internship because I wanted to get my feet wet with research and broaden my understanding of dentistry before I came to school," he remarks.

The research experience was beneficial for Slauch because it immersed him in implant dentistry. By organizing the project, he also learned the finer points of the research process. "This internship gave me a huge foundation for my first year. I came to UMSOD knowing that dentistry is exactly what I want to do," he states.

Even before his internship, Slauch was no stranger to dentistry. As a rambunctious 4-year-old growing up in Collegeville, Pa., he fell face first into a coffee table and knocked out most of his baby teeth. For the next few years, Slauch visited his dentist so frequently that the two built a friendship. The naturally-curious Slauch began learning about dental instruments while he was studying his ABCs. Ultimately, his internship with Dr. Balshi solidified his desire for a dental career. "Dentistry will give me the opportunity to serve people. I'll be able to change people's lives by giving them new smiles," states Slauch.

He enjoys research, but plans to focus on clinical dentistry - possibly with a specialty in prosthodontics - when he graduates from UMSOD. In the meanwhile, he's applying the experience gathered over the past year and enjoying the confidence built through his internship.

Click here to read the paper.

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