For more than 100 years the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry has provided exceptional dental education and service to Nebraskans and beyond through premier educational programs, innovative research and clinical care.
From regular checkups and cleanings to braces and dentures, the dental college provides the highest quality patient care in all areas at affordable costs. To find out more about programs and services visit the website at http://www.unmc.edu/dentistry or call 402-472-1301.
|Janet Guthmiller, D.D.S., Ph.D., is the dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Dentistry. Dr. Guthmiller is the ninth dean in the 115-year history of the UNMC College of Dentistry. She is the college’s first female dean. She is a native of Orange City, Iowa.
Before her current position, Dr. Guthmiller served on the faculty of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, now the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and the University of Iowa College ofDentistry. She most recently was associate dean of academic affairs and professor in the Department of Periodontology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry.
|Why is coming to the UNMC College of Dentistry something of homecoming for you?
“I grew up in Norwest Iowa in a small community about 45 miles north of Sioux City Iowa; community called Orange City Iowa, and spent my childhood and youth in Orange City. After pursuing my dental education at the University of Iowa, I went to the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio for my residency in periodontics and my specialty and Ph.D. Then I embarked on my academic career and served on faculty at the University of Maryland in Baltimore Maryland, came back to Iowa, the University of Iowa my alma mater and spent 10 years on faculty, and most recently was the associate dean for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But I am thrilled be back in the Midwest and be closer to my family and professional I’m really excited about working and learning with my colleagues at the College of Dentistry and working with the citizens of Nebraska.”
|How did you fall in love with dentistry?
“That’s interesting because I was thinking I might be interested in dentistry having actually grown up in a medical family. My father was a physician and my mother was a nurse, but didn’t know a lot about dentistry and I decided to enroll in a dental hygiene program in part to explore dentistry and the profession. I just absolutely loved my dental hygiene program so I decided to pursue dentistry and following that then went on for a specialty degree in periodontics and so I am a specialist in gum disease. When I was a dental student, I started thinking about my next steps and what would be next in my career, and while I knew I wanted to practice, I also thought that I might want to teach and so when I chose my specialty program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, I knew that they had a program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health actually that would prepare people for futures in academics. And so in addition to my certificate in periodontics, I also worked towards and obtained at Ph.D, in Cellular Instructor biology and so this was giving me foundation for a future in academics to be an educator, to also have the ability to practice and pursue research.”
|Tell us about the clinics open to the public at the UNMC College of Dentistry?
“We have a number of clinics at the College of Dentistry and we welcome patients of all ages and with all kinds of dental needs into the College of Dentistry clinics. We have our student clinics so both our dental hygiene and dental students in the clinics, seeing patients, and obviously supervised by faculty. And again, doing a number of different kinds of procedures and those appointments typically take a little bit longer because the students are learning, but again, very carefully supervised by our faculty and getting wonderful quality of care. We also have our post graduate clinics or residency clinics and these are clinics that are individuals who are dentist already and are coming back to pursue some specialty training in various specialties such as endodontic and periodontics, pediatric dentistry and orthodontics and these clinics again are, the patient would see the resident, but again they are covered by faculty as well and these are usually patients going to these clinics with a little bit higher lever of need for care. And finally we have a dental faculty practice, our university dental associates practice and this is actually run by faculty that are in the College of Dentistry and we have faculty representing all the specialties then in this practice. So it is an opportunity for people to come and be seen by our faculty dentist here at the college.”
In what ways does the college impact the City of Lincoln as well as the State of Nebraska?
“So in addition to our clinics, we do we do a number of outreach activities here in Lincoln. There is a Children’s Dental Day, bringing in children from the community. We have a sharing clinic that reaches out to the underserved population in Lincoln, and we have many other programs extending well beyond Lincoln. We also have programs as you may know in Omaha. We have a general practice residency in the Durham Outpatient Center, primarily treating adult patients and typically those with more heath complications or medical health issues. We also have a pediatric resident program at Children’s Hospital and again, reaching out to specifically to children with oral health and dental needs. Our dental hygiene program reaches out into the Lincoln, the regional, Omaha communities with their sealant program, going into the schools, so a wonderful outreach effort by our dental hygiene students and obviously being supervised by faculty in those efforts. They go into nursing homes and care for the elderly, so some great regional opportunities. We also have a west division program in Gering Nebraska and we have eight dental hygiene students in Gering actually working at a federally qualified health center, so providing outreach and service to Western Nebraska. Our students focused here in Lincoln go beyond here in terms of their dental education opportunities. They are travelling in and out of Nebraska region in various community health settings and private practices, doing outreach as a part of their educational program, but also doing a number of services, the sharing clinic type of days, and missions of mercy where we are providing service to the underserved people of the state.”
|The college is also a research center. Can you explain the research being done at the College of Dentistry?
“We have some very exciting research going on here at the College of Dentistry. We have a number of investigators exploring and investigating oral cancer which is an extremely devastating disease with a five-year survival rate of 57 percent. So we have investigators looking at the cellular level looking at what is going on inside of these cancer cells so that we can better understand not only and prevent the disease, but importantly, treat oral cancer. We also have some exciting work going on in my particular area of background in periodontics in terms of better understand what causes gum disease and the subsequence bone loss around the teeth, but also, how can we replace the bone that is lost in this disease process, so the regeneration of bone around the teeth. Investigators are also looking at the correlation between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases such as osteoporosis and rumotroid arthritis. We also have investigators looking at how can we replace facial structures lost to oral cancer or to trauma for example. So a number of very significant contributions, not only looking at what is causing these disease processes, but importantly, how can we better manage the diseases and provide better quality care of life for our patients.”
COD Fast Facts:
The UNMC College of Dentistry at a glance.
Proud History: For 13 of the past 18 years the college ranks highest in incoming GPA of any dentistry program in the USA.
Quality Education: Our students consistently shine with high board scores in both the dental and dental hygiene programs and the college offers strong residency programs in endodontics, general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and periodontics.
Service: Our commitment to service is evident in the strong clinical community service programs that provide outreach to underserved populations across the state.