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Taking the rough with the smooth: A Tufts student'€™s adventures in the Dal Faculty of Dentistry

Posted by Cheryl Bell on November 14, 2018 in News

Daria Ameri has packed a lot into two weeks. She arrived at Dal on October 28 with the support of a research grant from 3M Oral Care and Tufts University in Boston where she is a fourth-year dentistry student. Her mission: to compare the levels of gloss and surface roughness that different composites can achieve with the two polishing systems used at Dalhousie and Tufts.

3M also asked Daria to test a new, experimental composite. Her experiment examined different composites, all equally rough, and measured the gloss after each step during polishing. She used the same techniques dentists use in the mouth, checking to see if there were differences at key stages during the process.

Deepening her research
Daria credits Dr. Richard Price with helping her to “add layers” to her research by suggesting that she include the composite that is normally used at Tufts. He also suggested that she bring her polishing disks from Tufts so that the two different polishing systems could be compared.

“I’ll complete the initial study in the way 3M has requested it,” says Daria, “but, thanks to Dr. Price’s suggestions, I have different data available that will enable me to add more abstracts later.”

Daria enjoyed her short time at Dal. Dr. Price provided support and guidance and the lab technicians in the third-floor biomaterials lab answered questions and made sure Daria was comfortable using the equipment. She says she couldn’t have completed her research in two weeks had it not been for all the support she received.

Opportunities outside the lab
When she wasn’t in the lab, Daria shadowed fourth-year Dal dentistry student Katherine Curry in the clinic, sat in on one of Dr. Price’s lectures, and had the opportunity to examine her samples using both atomic force and scanning electron microscopy equipment at Dalhousie University.

“Looking at the samples that way gave me an opportunity to really zoom in and see the shapes and sizes of the grains and how that affects polishing. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at Tufts and it gave me more conclusions than I would have had otherwise,” says Daria.

Daria plans to submit an abstract for the IADR (International Association of Dental Research) conference, which will be held in Vancouver in June 2019. She will also present a research poster on her work at Tufts in March. She is applying to GPR (General Practice Residency) and AEGD (Advanced Education General Dentistry) programs for next year and hopes to be able to continue to carry out research.

The experience of having some dedicated time for research at another university is valuable, Daria believes. “I will go back to Tufts and recommend that we continue to send students to Dal. It would also be wonderful if a Dal student could go to Tufts. It’s great to experience different opinions and also to have two dental schools collaborating on one project.”

Any Dalhousie students who are interested in visiting Tufts in Boston should contact Martha Brilliant Smith (