Caroline LaRoy, Doctor of Dental Surgery student
Advances dental fillings
• Hometown: Hopkins, Minnesota
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Cristina de Mattos Pimenta Vidal, Assistant Professor, Department of Operative Dentistry
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Doctor of Dental Surgery, 2021
• Please describe your research: My research focuses on using alternative acids to etch tooth structure before a dental filling is placed. The currently used acid may be too aggressive, so we are evaluating if the bond between the filling and tooth is stronger or longer-lasting using the new acids.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? This research is important because the acids we are investigating could potentially lead to fillings with greater longevity. Continuously improving dental materials allows people to have long-lasting, beautiful fillings for common dental conditions like tooth fracture, cavities, or esthetic needs.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began research in the spring of my first year of dental school. With the help of my mentor, I chose a topic, learned about it throughout the year, and ran experiments over the summer.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has introduced me to amazing faculty members and allowed me to attend conferences in the US and beyond. My project has not only helped me appreciate the chemistry behind dental materials, but has also helped me become more confident at reading or writing scientific text and working independently.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to practice dentistry in my home state of Minnesota.
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