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Katie Ryan, DMD, Talks About Her Involvement with Dental Medicine

Katie Ryan (DEN ’14), assistant professor in the School of Dental Medicine Department of Restorative and Comprehensive Care, talks about her involvement with dental medicine.

How do you try to stay up-to-date with the field of dental medicine?

Dentistry is always changing and improving. I value the importance of continuing education, my involvement with professional associations like the Academy of General Dentistry and my professional network and mentors, which help me try to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

What pedagogies, approaches or methods do you try to emphasize in your teaching and/or in your work as the co-course director for the school's Diagnosis and Treatment Planning courses?

My favorite part of our Diagnosis and Treatment Planning course in the second year is working in small groups with the students on simulated cases. I love encouraging and fostering the integration of all the individual areas of dentistry that they have learned about and bringing it all together in a treatment plan. Working with the students in a smaller environment is much more conducive to an interactive learning environment. It allows us to see any gaps in understanding and adjust our teaching to address the questions more readily than in a large, lecture-style class.

What changes have you seen from your time as a student at Pitt Dental Medicine to now, as a faculty member? What do you want for Pitt Dental Medicine’s future?

Pitt Dental Medicine is constantly changing and evolving. The most notable change since the time I was a dental student is in the realm of digital technology. The transition from traditional methods to digital dentistry has been remarkable and has brought several transformative changes. It has revolutionized diagnostics and treatment planning with cone-beam computed tomography and intraoral scanners. The students have significant clinical exposure to computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing technology. The technology with intraoral cameras and clinic monitors has also improved workflow and patient education for our dental school patients. Pitt Dental Medicine has embraced the technology and is very fortunate to have Dr. Robert Nerone leading the clinical digital dentistry program at the school. He is an assistant professor and serves as director of chairside digital dentistry and vice chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care.