Here are the 2022 BoardVitals Dental School Scholarship Winners 

dental school scholarship

As technology develops and knowledge progresses, the medical industry sees advancements that improve the quality of care offered to patients. These advancements cover all areas of healthcare, including dentistry. In an effort to support the dentists of the future, BoardVitals launched their first Dental School Scholarship this year. 

For the 2022 BoardVitals Dental School Scholarship, we asked current dental students to answer the prompt: “In what area do you think the next major advancement in dentistry will occur?” Several dental students responded with dentistry advancements we were really impressed with. 

Meet the winners of the 2022 BoardVitals Dental School Scholarship and where they think the next major advancement in dentistry will occur: 

1st Place: Shruti Gajbhiye 

shruti gajbhiye

Shruti Gajbhiye is a current dental student at the University of Buffalo. She is an avid cook who loves trying new recipes. She used to go fossil hunting when she worked at a state museum. 

In her essay, Shruti wrote about how nonsurgical lasers will transform the field of dentistry. Here is an excerpt:  

“While photodynamic therapy is useful, non-surgical lasers that use photobiomodulation therapy are more suited for other advancements in the dental field. This non-ionizing technique is effective in inhibiting inflammation while promoting soft tissue regeneration and wound healing, making it applicable for several types of dental treatment. It is difficult to grow bone, but use of photobiomodulation therapy suggests the periodontal ligament is able to recover after treatment. In comparison to other periodontal therapy techniques, such as soft tissue grafts, photobiomodulation therapy is not reliant on recruitment of progenitor cells to the lesion site, but rather proliferation of the periodontal stem cells themselves due to the activation of the laser. These cells have osteogenic, angiogenic, and cementogenic abilities that can regenerate periodontal ligament. This therapy is less invasive, which benefits patients with periodontitis, as they are commonly prone to having other medical conditions that may limit healing. Theoretically, this would cause less of a burden on privately owned dental clinics and possibly better access to care for those in underserved populations.” 

2nd Place: Renee Marin Gomez 

renee marin gomez

Renee Marin Gomez is a dental student at Howard University. He is a proud alum of the University of Florida and is a huge Gator fan. Renee’s biggest weakness is Chick Fil-A, most notably chicken minis with buffalo sauce. 

Outside of his studies, Renee loves getting out on the water, whether it is to fish, kayak, or float. 

In his essay, Renee wrote about what bone augmentation will mean for the future of dentistry. Here is an excerpt:  

“Currently we have graft options that can induce minor bone formation but for severe bone loss greater than 50% it nearly impossible to recover that bone and that creates issues for the patient because the prognosis for the teeth involved becomes very questionable. 3 walled and 2-walled defects are currently the only defects that are indicated for bone augmentation, but I believe that in the future even 1-walled defects will be candidates for bone reformation. 

I believe bone augmentation is the next major advancement in dentistry because we are already on the forefront of its success and it will have the capability to enhance multiple facets of dentistry.” 

3rd Place: Jared Totaro 

jared totaro

Jared Totaro is a dental student at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He is the captain of the MUSC College of Dental Medicine softball team. Outside of his studies, Jared volunteers on a therapy horse ranch. 

Prior to dental school, Jared worked as a dental assistant at the East Cooper Community Outreach free dental clinic. His goal is to pursue a career in periodontics. 

In his essay, Jared wrote about artificial intelligence and what dentists can expect from this innovation. Here is an excerpt: 

“This change to the diagnostic process is coming, and practices willing to adopt these program into their diagnostic criteria and advertising campaigns will likely see an increase in their patient populations, as the sole barrier to entry would potentially be access to a smartphone. While many patients will choose to not use the program, several will, even if just to satisfy their own curiosity. The instances of patients avoiding a dental office in times of painless, but active, decay will become lessened as the ability to diagnose oneself prior to the onset of pain will become widely available. If this program is pitched to a patient as a manner of preventing future extensive, more expensive and painful treatment by receiving preventative care as soon as needed, an improvement in their own compliance with dental visits will occur, and more cost efficient dental care can be provided.” 

Congratulations to all our winners! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for them in their dentistry career journey. 

Check out the winners of our other 2022 scholarships: 

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at

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