Research projects

Faculty Satisfied with Class of 2022 Dental Hygiene Research Projects | School of Dentistry

Enamel crystallization. Tongue cleaning. Home whitening. Evaluation of eating disorders.

These are just a few of the topics for the class of dental hygiene students of 2022 at West Virginia University School of Dentistry have chosen to study as part of their Capstone research projects.

Working in pairs or small groups, students spent two years collecting and evaluating research data needed to help meet the demands of the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.

“They encountered many obstacles to complete the work during times of change, but each group took ownership of their project and produced high quality results. Each of them is an undergraduate who has produced top-notch research from inception to final presentation,” Dr Alcinda Shockeydental hygiene professor, said.

Seniors Catlyn Sparks and Kandice Pruitt took first place in the competition by just a tenth of a percent.

Their project, “The Link Between Different Dental Products and Enamel Crystallization”, aimed to determine which product provided the most fluoridated enamel rod crystallization, to determine if hydroxyapatite impaired enamel rod crystallization and to indicate which fluorinated product acted the fastest when applied as the suggested manufacture.

“We were able to obtain teeth and put them through a period of demineralisation and a period of remineralisation through the use of effective dental grade fluoride products. Throughout this experience, we were not only able to learn about different dental products and their effectiveness in remineralizing surface enamel, but also scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis,” writes Sparks and Pruitt as part of a review of their research.

Catlyn Sparks and Kandice Pruitt
“The link between different dental products and enamel crystallization

Mady Hinkle, Emma Rice and Caylie Simmons
“The Ergonomics of Dental Hygiene in Rural West Virginia”

Jordan Clark, Reese Prezioso and Macie Zumack
“WVU Health Sciences Campus Students Know Tongue Cleansing”

Baylee Fitzwater and Kaci Zopp
“Professional Grade Carbamide Peroxide for Home Bleaching Trays – Versus Home Bleaching Remedies”

Kelsie Bishop and Madelyn White
“The Effects of Different Operator Chairs on Back Pain and Ergonomics in Dental Professionals”

Tatiyana Caesar and Abigail Charles
“Efficacy of plastic protective barriers -vs- disinfectant wipes”

Natalie Clingan and Makennah Rursch
“Plastic Use at the WVU School of Dentistry”

Lauren Bane, Hannah Grimm, Lauren Sobek and Kaylee Wellborn
“A study to determine the comfort of dental hygienists in assessing eating disorders in West Virginia”

“As you can see, the competition was very tight and very competitive. The point range was less than 3.5 with a variance of less than 10%, and all projects had a mastery of 84.92% or better in performing their research. This class has achieved outstanding results,” Shockey said.

Top finishers Catlyn Sparks and Kandice Pruitt shared the message of thanks and encouragement below:

We have so many people we would like to thank for the success of this project, including Dr. Marcela Redigolo from the engineering department for running our SEM analysis and taking the time to interpret this data with us. The data of this project was truly based on its interpenetration of data. We would also like to thank Mr. Jason Format for building our resin blocks that held our 10X10 enamel squares. We would also like to thank Mr. Tony Fang for our statistical data as well as Sigma Phi Alpha and Dr. Fotinos Panagakos for research funding. Finally, this project would not have been possible without the guidance of Dr. Shockey and Mr. Christopher Watters. We also want to congratulate all of our classmates for a job well done and we are all still in the running for Charleston Undergraduate Research Day! We each had something new and exciting to bring to the field of dental hygiene. Promotion 2022, we are almost done!