It may be up to them to make the big plays, but football players at Southern Methodist University have dental students to thank for their winning smiles this season.
Each summer, Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry offers a selective course for third- and fourth-year dental students focusing on athletic mouthguards and their role in sports dentistry.
This selective has been offered for 15 years and is taught by Dr. Danette McNew, clinical assistant professor of general dentistry.
Students attend the course once a week. Topics range from the "Risks of Athletic Injuries" to "Marketing of Dental Practices" by becoming a team dentist for a local athletic team. Students also participate in hands-on practical sessions fabricating mouthguards one day each week.
At the conclusion of the course, the students accompany McNew to the athletic facility at SMU and take dental impressions on the football players. They return to the dental school to pour up the impressions, trim the casts and prepare for the fabrication of the mouthguards. After the final mouthguards are completed they are delivered to the athletes at SMU - just in time for their pre-season training.
An additional opportunity was made available to the selective course student participants this summer. On Aug. 21 several of the HSC-BCD students presented information at a sports forum for student athletic trainers at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas.
The dental students discussed the sports dentistry topics they had become well-versed in over the summer and then answered questions from the audience. Other forum speakers included a trainer from the Dallas Stars, the director of sports prosthetics from Scottish Rite Hospital, the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services epidemiology program planner, the head athletic trainer for Parish Episcopal School, a registered dietitian and the sports medicine community liaison for Children's Medical Center.
Mitch McKnight, Dr. Danette McNew, Laura Smith,