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School of Dentistry

School of Dentistry students made quite an impression on Evans High School football players. As they took the field for their first game of the season, the players wore new mouthguards, custom-made by a team of 30 dental students. “I love sports, and sports dentistry is something that’s cool to me,” says Brian Bragassa, a junior dental student who jumpstarted the project. “The combination of the two is where I got the motivation. And it’s a good way for a dentist to really reach out to the community.” Mr. Bragassa, community service chair for the MCG American Student Dental Association chapter, came up with the idea after shadowing a dentist in Athens who makes mouthguards for the University of Georgia football team. He was given permission to move forward with the project in January and pitched the idea to Russell Lee, the assistant football coach at Evans High. Mr. Bragassa got Coach Lee’s name from Dr. Frank Caughman, associate dean for patient services, whose son attends the high school. “Once I knew the team was interested, we worked to get supplies, such as impression trays, rubber bowls, gloves, alginate, model stone, etc., donated from the dental school,” Mr. Bragassa says. “We worked closely with Central Lab Supply at the school to collect enough supplies to make impressions for the players.” Sullivan-Schein Dental helped fund supplies, and with additional funding from School of Dentistry Dean Connie Drisko, the group was able to buy discounted mouthguard materials from Great Lakes Orthodontics in New York. Mr. Bragassa and a team of 18 dental students made their way to Evans High in June to collect impressions of the players’ mouths. Fifty-four impressions were transported to the dental school where a lab team led by junior students Travis Fiegle and Brandon Esco made stone models from the impressions. Eight students worked in the orthodontics lab to fabricate the mouthguards using a Biostar machine, an air pressure mechanism that evenly forces plastic into position. The hard work resulted in black mouthguards, each with a gold Evans logo on the front. “We came up with the design; we knew their team colors, and we told them what we were going to do,” says Mr. Bragassa. “We showed the team a demo first and made five or six practice mouthguards.” Mr. Bragassa, several dental students and Dr. Caughman delivered the mouthguards to the players in July on their first day of football practice. “They were all grinning; you could tell they were really excited,” Mr. Bragassa says. “Dr. Caughman was there checking every player to make sure the mouthguards fit properly. And Coach Lee was extremely appreciative of us.” Mr. Bragassa hopes to design mouthguards next year for a different high school. “We want other schools to have the experience, and when we decide on a school, we’ll start the project again in January,” he says. “It’s a lot of tedious work, but it’s worth it.” n

Winter 08

Mouthguard Project

Administrative Team Patrick Arnett Brian Bragassa Leigh Ann Trotter

William Bennett Alpesh Patel

Impression Team Ben Allred William Bennett Sharla Bush Amanda Davis Shivane Gupta Brent Herrin Ashley Hill Dawnyetta Marable Courtney Shaw Mary Wolfe

Marc Allred Jonathan Bullard Mark Causey Adam Goldberg Zeyad Hassan James Hicks Bethany Loushine Alpesh Patel Brandon Whitworth

Lab Team Patrick Arnett Ryan Fulchi Jonathan Bullard Amy Camba Brandon Esco Ryan Fulchi Mayur Nayee Courtney Shaw Paul Trotter

William Bennett Chase Brooks Sharla Bush Mark Causey Travis Fiegle Ben Lyons Alpesh Patel Leigh Ann Trotter Daniel White

Photography Jonathan Bullard Faculty and Staff Dr. Frank Caughman Dr. Eladio DeLeon Shannon Dunn Dr. Carole Hanes

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Word of Mouth, Winter 2008  

Community Partnerships ANNUAL REPORT EDITION Medical College of Georgia WINTER 08

Word of Mouth, Winter 2008  

Community Partnerships ANNUAL REPORT EDITION Medical College of Georgia WINTER 08