UAB School of Dentistry esthetics clinic will put a smile on your face

The advanced esthetics, restorative and biomaterials residency program at UAB is making — and crafting — smiles. 
Written by: Hannah Bae
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

EstheticsJoomla1Only a handful of dental schools in the country have programs focused around dental esthetics. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Dentistry takes it a step further by combining the esthetics program with a graduate program in biomaterials within the Division of Biomaterials, a true one-of-a-kind opportunity for residents and patients alike.

The advanced esthetics, restorative and biomaterials residency program — which opened in fall of 2017 — offers treatment of esthetic fillings, crowns and veneers by dental residents. Training in biomaterials gives students knowledge on the most current ceramics and resin composites used for the treatments, while giving patients the cosmetic care they are looking for as they seek to improve their smile.

“Residents are trained to analyze a patient’s smile to create the shape and size of teeth that harmonize with the patient’s face,” said Nathaniel Lawson, DMD, Ph.D., director of the UAB Division of Biomaterials. “What we are teaching and practicing here at UAB is really what is continuing to separate us from others across the country and even in our community.”

Another unique aspect of the program is the use of advanced bonding techniques and materials that allow for conservative removal of tooth structure when creating veneers. The residents also work closely with colleagues in other specialties in the School of Dentistry who enhance esthetic procedures through orthodontics, periodontics and endodontics.

EstheticsJoomla2Madison Benson initially visited the clinic March 29, 2018, after meeting a few residents at a mutual photoshoot. While she was joking about getting veneers, they told her to come visit the clinic for her care and to learn more about the school’s unique offerings.

After a visit with the Division of Biomaterials team, a treatment plan determined that 10 veneers, which are coverings bonded to the front sides of teeth, would be the best way to enhance her smile.

“It almost felt like I was getting special treatment,” Benson said. “Going to the dentist isn’t always fun because you sit for hours at a time with your mouth open. Even though I did spend long hours in the clinic, the dental residents and clinicians were very attentive. They would talk to me and make the experience really enjoyable.”

Her message to anyone thinking of looking into this type of treatment? Check it out.

“Go to the clinic,” Benson said. “I recommend it to everyone and anyone who has ever thought about changing their smile or has something they don’t like about it.”

Interested patients can email the program director directly at or the patient coordinator LaTara Rogers at to schedule a screening to determine whether they are a candidate for treatment.