University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine crowned winner of Dental Olympics

Friendly SmileCon competition pitted four dental teams from Florida, Puerto Rico against one another

SmileCon Chair Melanie Love, D.D.S., the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine and Gary Pickard celebrate the Dental Olympics.

Orlando, Fla. — Jesse Owens. Florence Griffith Joyner. Mary Lou Retton.

Add the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine to the list of Olympic champions, as the dental school took top honors at the second annual Dental Olympics.

Students from four dental schools in Florida and Puerto Rico went head-to-head in a series of competitive events over two days during SmileCon in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center.

The Dental Olympics, sponsored by Pacific Dental Services, featured teams from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine, Nova Southeastern University and University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine.

The quartet participated in a social media competition and faced off in dental trivia and cornhole, the latter in which the teams took turns throwing small bean bags at a raised, angled board with a targeted hole.

The final day of the competition featured a dental trivia round involving the two winners of the day-one first round. Like in the first round, the questions were primarily clinical, including topics such as:

• Bonding of resin to dentin.
• Treating an acute periodontal abscess.
• Ideal margin for all-ceramic crowns.
• Purpose of leveling the curve of a Spee.
• Most common complication for a single crown.
• Strength of yttria-stabilized zirconia.

The team from Puerto Rico won the second and final round of trivia, paving the way for its ultimate victory of the Olympics.

Andrea Rodrigue Rolon, a fourth-year student at Puerto Rico, said the entire experience of SmileCon was “amazing.”

Manuel A. Cordero, D.D.S., executive director and CEO of the Hispanic Dental Association, came to support the team from Puerto Rico.

“I am beside myself,” he said of how well the dental students performed.

Ana Lopez Fuentes, D.M.D., past dean of the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine and 2023-24 board chair of the American Dental Education Association, was also on hand to root for the Puerto Rico team.

“They did perfectly well,” she said.

The second iteration of the Dental Olympics will not be its last, and fans will not have to wait four years for the next one. Gary Pickard, senior director of government and industry affairs for Pacific Dental Services, said the third Dental Olympics will take place in New Orleans at SmileCon 2024.

He has a piece of encouragement for all the competitors.

“Go out and do some great work,” Mr. Pickard said.

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