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Inspiring healthy smiles and encouraging future dental professionals

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Image of students from Samuel F.B. Morse ElementaryThrough a partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) we were able to expand our programming with the goal of instilling the importance of oral health as part of a healthy life while also encouraging the realistic possibility of a career in the field of dentistry.

"Traditionally, children visit the museum to have fun and get excited about caring for their teeth," says Richard Manski, DDS, MBA, PhD, Executive Diretor of the Museum and professor and chair of dental public health at the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry (UMSOD).  

Image of Students from Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary

"This program helps us to take the next step, promoting dentistry and dental hygiene as engaging and fulfilling career opportunities and to inspire young children to one day consider joining us as dental professionals.  We want to reach these future dental professionals early in order to encourage them to look forward to and appreicate their STEM classes and aspire to health careers. As an added plus, we'll be promoting good oral health."

The program allowed us to host classes from ten Baltimore City Public Schools, ranging from Kindergarten to 2nd grade.  The series of visits gave Baltimore area students a chance to experience ‌and explore a career that is possible for any student with hard work and dedication in school. A huge thanks to the following schools for being a part of this program and sharing your smiles with us!

  • Gilmor Elementary‌
  • Edgecomb Circle ElementaryImages of students' smiles
  • Abbottston Elementary
  • Curtis Bay Elementary
  • Tunbridge Public Charter School
  • Calvin Rodwell Elementary
  • Mt. Royal Elementary
  • Hampstead Hill Academy
  • Samuel F.B. Morse Elementary
  • Belmont Elementary

Interested in having your school or group visit the museum? Visit our Educators page or contact Patrick Cutter at pcutter@umaryland.edu or by phone at 410-706-0600.

Why is there a narwhal at the National Museum of Dentistry?

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To answer our own question simply, narwhals have one of the most fascinating and most researched teeth in the animal kingdom.

Image of narwhals

Did you know blurb containing the text "A tusk is just a long, pointy, and usually continuously growing tooth that protrudes from an animal’s mouth?

When you think of tusks, animals like elephants and walruses come to mind, but rodents such as beavers and groundhogs also have tusks that they wear down by chewing on wood!"Narwhal Tusk Research (NTR) was founded in 2000 as a multinational group to discover the purpose and function of the narwhal tusk.

At the head of the investigation, Dr. Martin Nweeia, dentist, explorer, anthropologist, and teacher, has worked with dozens of scientists and Inuit elders to provide insight into the legendary narwhal tusk.

Dr. Nweeia, and NTR, have revolutionized what we know about the narwhal.  From researching the legends and myths surrounding the elusive marine creature, including its connection to the unicorn, to laser scanning and other forms of scientific analysis completed on both tusk and body, the research found its way to NMD's temporary exhibition, "The Narwhal: A Whale of a Tooth," which is on display until April 6th.

Find out more about the legendary "unicorn of the sea" and its amazing tooth in Baltimore before it heads to our friends at the National Museum of Natural History to join an exhibition opening in August.

Curious to learn even more? Check out the links below to start your journey on being the next narwhal expert.

ELOKA - The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowlege of the Arctic

Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Narwhal.org

Centennial Lane Elementary's Poster Contest Winners at the Museum

Banner ad for winning posters. Text included: "On display now until the end of March! See the winning posters of Centennial Lane Elementary's Oral Hygiene Poster Contest. Want to get your school involved with the museum? Contact Patrick Cutter at pcutter@umaryland.edu or by phone at 410-706-0600"

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Images of Poster Winners' SmilesT‌he National Museum of Dentistry is privileged to partner with Centennial Lane Elementary in order to host the winning posters of an Oral Hygiene Poster Contest held at the elementary amongst the entire second grade class.

"As a part of our Health curriculum for 3rd quarter, students are focused on disease prevention and control.  With that in mind, they are charged with learning the importance of good personal and dental hygiene," says Second Grade teacher, and former museum staff member, Ms. Rachael Clark.  

Ms. Clark approached the museum with the idea of taking the school's current curriculum and working with the museum to enhance the experience for the students. "As a 2nd grade team this year, we thought it would be a more meaningful activity to have our students create these fact-filled, colorfully illustrated posters that had the potential to be hung at NMD for the public to see," explains Clark. The museum took the idea one step farther, providing prize packages for each of the winners including coupons for visiting the museum with family members, an NMD toothbrush, and resources to continue their oral health education.

As Clark details, "Once we introduced this idea to the kids, we saw instant excitement and buy-in from them, which helped us deliver more meaningful lessons that they will hopefully remember and put into practice for years to come.  We found that the students were highly engaged and took pride in their work on the posters throughout the entire process.  They gained a sense of camaraderie, as well, cheering on one another to make the best poster possible.  In comparison to previous years' posters, we found that this go around produced a higher quality of work because it offered a more personal connection to the students."  An outcome the museum was very happy to hear.

We will be unveiling the winning posters daily on our Facebook page, but please show your support of these students and oral health education by coming to see all the posters in person! The posters will be on display from now until the end of March in our first floor gallery.

Come take a picture with your favorite poster and share it on Twitter to @hcpss_cles and @SDHNMD or on Facebook @HoCoSchools and @NationalMuseumofDentistry to show your support!

Have a project you'd like the Museum to be involved with? Contact Patrick Cutter at pcutter@umaryland.edu or by phone at 410-706-0600 with your idea!

America's 1st Pediatric Dentist - Minnie Evangeline Jordan

Image of Minnie Evangeline Jordan (4th from left) and classmates from University of California School of Dentistry Yearbook 1903

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Image of Minnie Evangeline JordanMinnie Evangeline Jordan, D.D.S. (Jan. 22, 1865-Oct. 10, 1952)

In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we are taking a look at the United States’ very first pediatric dentist, M. Evangeline Jordan, D.D.S.

Now, Dr. Jordan was not the first dentist to treat a child or have a child as a recurring patient, but she was the first to exclusively dedicate her practice, research, and life to children’s oral health.

Dr. Johnson did not begin her career in dentistry, but rather went to college for education, becoming a teacher in 1885, at the age of 20.

In 1897, Jordan left teaching to enroll in the dentistry program at the University of California.  A year later, she had graduated, and immediately immersed herself within the world of dentistry, being elected the 2nd vice-president of the Southern California Dental Association, developing a course for the University of California, “Care of Children’s Teeth,” and opening a clinic at the Orphan’s Home, all by 1901.

Within the next 7 years, her passion for improving children’s oral health care lead to Johnson limiting her practice, becoming, in 1909, the first dentist exclusively accepting children as patients.  Her decision, research, and determination were influential in guiding the future of pediatric dentistry through promoting proper oral health care, specialized education, and improving techniques to care for children’s mouths.

Dr. Jordan dedicated her life to pediatric dentistry, creating a legacy that includes published books, papers, and articles, including her most well-known, “Operative Dentistry for Children,” published in 1925, and a part in the founding of two influential organizations, the Federation of American Women Dentists and the American Society of Dentistry for Children (an organization which was spear-headed by our naming benefactor, Dr. Samuel D. Harris).  

Find out more about Dr. Jordan from the sources below:

Loevy H, Kowitz A. M. Evangeline Jordon, pioneer in pedodontics. Journal Of The History Of Dentistry [serial online]. 2006 Spring 2006;54(1):3-8. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA.

Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. M. Evangeline Jordan-Pedodontics. http://dent.umich.edu/about-school/sindecuse-museum/m-evangeline-jordan-pedodontics.

Title image taken from University of California, College of Dentistry, Chaff. 1898.

In Memory of Dr. Daryl Beach

Image of Dr. Daryl Beach taken from www.drdarylbeach.net

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Dentistry lost a clinical dental education simulation pioneer

Dr. Daryl Beach passed away this past October. He was born in Nebraska on Valentine’s Day in 1926. Dr. Beach was in high school when the US entered World War II. Prior to turning 18, he made the decision to make a pre-draft enlistment in the US Navy. After the war Dr. Beach attended and then graduated from the University of Oregon School of Dentistry in 1951.

Dr. Beach was recalled into the Navy during the Korean War where he was stationed at the Yokosuka Navy Hospital in Japan. As an “early adopter” of new technology including high-speed handpieces and high-volume suction, Dr. Beach was sent to various military bases and dental schools in Japan and southeast Asia demonstrating the advantages of these new technologies. It was during one of these demonstrations, where he had to use flat tables for patient positioning, that he realized he had stumbled on a better way to maintain finger control during the treatment of patients. Eventually, Dr. Beach made Japan his home where he continued to study the positioning of dentists and patients for optimal treatment outcomes leading to the development and production of innovative dental equipment. Dr. Beach’s pioneering work on the use of simulation as a dental educational model gained a world-wide reputation and the scientific paradigm of Performance Logic was developed. He opened the Human Performance Institute in Atami, Japan in 1970.

Dr. Errol Reese, Dean of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (BCDS), Dr. Beach and the J. Morita Corporation collaborated to open the first Center for the Study of Human Performance in Dentistry at the University of Maryland in 1983. The Center was designed as a unique educational, research, and treatment complex to study advanced concepts of dental care delivery with the primary focus on human performance. The Center’s first director Dr. Michael Belenky, Associate Professor of Oral Health Care Delivery at BCDS, worked closely with Dr. Beach for over twenty years to further develop and advance the training of dental students in optimal care settings. The BCDS Center, later named as the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) was soon designated as a World Health Organization Collaborative Center for the Review and Evaluation of Performance Simulation Training Systems for Oral Health Care.

In Memory of Dr. Esther Wilkins

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Image of Dr. Esther Wilkins from Dimensions of Dental Hygiene

The National Museum of Dentistry was saddened to learn of the passing of pioneer Hygienist Dr. Esther Wilkins, considered by many to be the matriarch of Dental Hygiene.

"The profession of dental hygiene was changed forever on September 19, 1938, the day Esther M. Wilkins, BS, RDH, DMD, enrolled in dental hygiene school at the Forsyth Training School fod Dental Hygienists in Boston."  Esther did not stop from that point on, graduating from Tuft's School of Dental Medicine in 1949, becoming the founding director of the University of Washington's Dental Hygiene Program in Seattle, and creating the guide to Dental Hygiene education, Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist, now in its 11th edition.

Esther was dedicated to the profession, and leaves a legacy for all to admire and strive towards.  Ever an inspiration, the oral health field has lost one of its most passionate voices.  She will be missed.

Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. "The Esther Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award." Jan. 15, 2016.

 

In Memory of Dr. Irwin Smigel - December 7, 2016

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Image of Dr. Irwin Smigel and Wife and opening of the Smile ExperienceThe National Museum of Dentistry was saddened to learn of the passing in October of Dr. Irwin Smigel, a pioneer in the field of esthetic dentistry and considered by many of his peers to be the “Father of Esthetic Dentistry.” Dr. Smigel’s long-time support of the museum enabled us to open our “Smile Experience” exhibit in 2009.

Dr. Smigel’s pioneering efforts began in the 1970s with the use of dental bonding agents and resins that enabled restoring anterior teeth to a more natural appearance. His techniques were even demonstrated on the television programs “The Mike Douglas Show” and “That’s Incredible.”

Dr. Smigel was always willing to expound upon esthetic dentistry techniques and founded the American Society for Dental Aesthetics in 1976. His book Dental Health/Dental Beauty was published in 1979 and Dr. Smigel was a speaker at dental conferences world-wide.

Ever a pleasure to be around, Dr. Smigel was always smiling. Dentistry has lost one of its most compelling voices for esthetic dentistry. He will be missed.

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