Staff updates

Ryan Brown was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and has been married to his beautiful wife Tiffany for six years with three children: Dakota, 5; Teagan, 3; and Connor, 16 months. Brown is the clinic manager for the Department of Endodontics. He has been with the VCU School of Dentistry since 2010 and with endodontics since April 2012. He manages the day-to-day operations of the graduate clinic and the overall flow of the clinic to ensure the best care for VCU patients. He also assists chairside with the residents during root canal treatments. He loves all things dental but has a special place in his heart for endodontics.

Brown received all of his training here at the VCU School of Dentistry, as this is a second career for him. He went to school to be a machinist and was a machine mechanic for 10 years.

In the graduate endodontics clinic, the team provides quality root canal treatment with eight residents as well as a wealth of full-time and part-time faculty delivering many years of endodontic knowledge. They treat between 24 and 36 patients each day, four days a week, as they service all the departments in the dental school. The team also has a presence at the Mission of Mercy Project in Wise, Va., where they treat underprivileged patients who normally could not afford endodontic care. Go, Team Endo!

Trey Hall is from a little town in southern Virginia called Scottsburg. He moved to Richmond, Va., in 2007. He got interested in dentistry after visiting his family dentist and seeing how he really helped people who were ashamed of their smiles. Hall spoke with his dentist about the profession and decided to try it out.

He attended J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and received his CDA as well as X-ray certification. After graduating, he came to work at the VCU school of Dentistry. In March 2012, he started working in the Department of Endodontics and has been here ever since. Being at the school, he has learned a lot about root canals and patient management.

Ana Y. Vargas is from Costa Rica. She found her passion for dentistry in Costa Rica when she worked as a dental assistant for an endodontist for one summer as a part-time job. When she came to the United States, she continued to love dentistry and decided to pursue a certificate as a dental assistant while working in public health with a general dentist, where she gained a great deal of experience. Afterward, she worked in pediatric dentistry where it’s impossible not to feel like a kid again. She learned a lot of different procedures and treatments like oral sedation as well as general anesthesia, and she now has an Anesthesia Assistant Certification.

Now, Vargas is happily working in endodontics, which she loved from day one. She has learned how to take CT scans and is amazed by the procedures and surgeries as well as all the different things that she continues to learn every day from faculty and residents.

Sarah Seckman is from Midlothian, Va. She originally became interested in dentistry at a young age through the inspiration of her family dentist, a well-known artist whose paintings you may have seen spread throughout the hallways of the VCU School of Dentistry and other VCU buildings.  She started out wanting to pursue art school but shifted her focus to dentistry after a neighbor was diagnosed with cancer and hearing that their mutual dentist, Dr. W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. (D.D.S. ’70) had given her a full mouth restoration at no charge due to her teeth deteriorating from chemotherapy treatment. He simply wanted to reduce some of the stress she was undergoing at the time and help give her confidence. It was then that she knew she could balance both passions – being able to give back and implementing my creative side as well.

As a recent graduate from VCU with a B.S. in biology, Seckman began working in the Department of Endodontics in the summer of 2014 and has grown a deeper appreciation for the specialty, considering that she was not exposed to many root canals from working in general private practices in the past. Working with microscopes and cone beams gives a huge advantage when working in millimeter lengths deep down in a canal that can hardly be seen. Not to mention manipulating X-rays to diagnose abnormal tooth anatomy or extra canals. She especially enjoys assisting with complicated cases, children and patients with special needs and loves seeing what may start off as a negative experience end positively and changing someone’s perception on the way they view dentistry. Root canals have a bad reputation associated with pain, but working in endodontics has been one of the most positive and rewarding opportunities for Seckman. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with the Virginia Dental Association and attending MOM projects and spending time with her three-year-old son, Ben.

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