Category: Endodontics

VCU Grad Endo Leaving Their Mark!

The VCU endodontic residents have kept very busy in the graduate endodontic clinic this year providing endodontic care and support for patients from within the VCU dental clinics along with patients from the Richmond area. But did you know…………….

1. Two of our residents, Dr’s Cyrous Ardalan and Eshwar Arasu were selected by the AAE Foundation for Endodontics to travel abroad to Jamaica to provide endodontic care to the Jamaican people. Traveling in October of this past fall, Dr’s Ardalan and Arasu met up with another mission team and provided endodontic care to many patients over the course of the week. With the use of a surgical microscope (loaned to the mission trip by Seiler), both residents provided a high level of care using modern equipment not typically seen in this part of the world. They were the second pair of endodontic residents to be selected by the Foundation for Endodontics in the Foundation’s new efforts at saving teeth in an area where extractions are frequently the treatment of choice. Both residents came away with a new perspective on how they might be able to use their skills to help others in impoverished areas of the world.

2. More recently, all eight of the endodontic residents attended the American Association of Endodontists annual meeting held in late April in New Orleans, Louisiana. Each of the residents made presentations during the poster clinics and table clinics at this meeting (3 research poster presentations and 3 table clinic presentations) and the table clinic presented by Dr’s Laura Garden and Megan Green placed in the top ten table clinic presentations thus winning an award and bringing some more recognition to VCU endodontics. Congrats to these two residents! The meeting provided some great speakers for the residents to listen to over the four day period and of course the evenings provided the opportunity for enjoying some good Cajun food and New Orleans style music. It provided a nice break from the rigors of a residency program.

3. What’s to come? In late May, Dr’s Husain Karashi and Eshwar Arasu will be traveling with myself to Guatemala City for a week where we will work with some Guatemalan endodontic residents providing surgical endodontic care at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin. This will be the first of what we hope to be an annual trip to provide our residents with an opportunity to increase their endodontic surgical experiences. Case information and radiographs will be shared ahead of time so that we can hit the ground running when we arrive. We will also have the opportunity to provide some lectures and discussions with our Guatemalan hosts during the week. This type of collaboration will help spread the dental care that is taught at VCU to our friends in need abroad.

So that is a glimpse into some of what the endodontic residents have been up to over the past several months. At the end of June we will see our second year residents graduate and they are headed in various directions – Dr. Arasu will be joining a practice in the Nashville, Tennessee area, Dr. Ardalan will be joining a practice in the New Orleans area, Dr. Riley Sturgill will be opening her own practice in Tennessee and Dr. Husain Karashi will continue on for another year here at VCU as an endodontic fellow faculty member. All four will do great as they head out on their own very shortly. The Department of Endodontics wishes the best of summers to you all!

March 2017 Newsletter

March 2017 Newsletter

Root canal awareness week

Root Canal Awareness Week is May 7-13 2017! Join the American Association of Endodontists as we advocate for the valuable role that endodontists play on the dental team. Root Canal Awareness Week:

  • SUPPORTS endodontists as root canal specialists
  • EDUCATES patients about the benefits of root canal treatment
  • DISPELS myths about root canal treatment
  • BUILDS relationships with other dental professionals
I hope you enjoy the attached video.  Please share with your patients and colleagues.
The Department of Endodontics at VCU School of Dentistry is always available for your patient needs.  Thank you.

Root canal awareness week was also picked up by Newsweek.  Here is the article:

July 2016 Newsletter

July 2016 Newsletter

January 2016 Newsletter

January 2016 Newsletter

Our current resident class

First-year residents

Laura Tolusso Garden

is originally from Roanoke, Virginia. She attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate studies and then earned her D.D.S. from VCU School of Dentistry in 2012. She completed an AEGD at UNC Chapel Hill, practiced general dentistry in Midlothian, Virginia for three years and is thrilled to be returning to VCU. In her free time, you can find Laura somewhere near the river with her husband, Ben, and chocolate lab, Fisher, or out enjoying Richmond’s great restaurant scene. Ben and Laura are also preparing to welcome their first child this November.

Megan Green

is from Atlanta, GA, and attended the University of Georgia for her undergraduate studies where she cheered for a year. She attended the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA for dental school. She loves watching Georgia football, and enjoys working out and cooking. As a new Richmond resident she is excited to enjoy all of the restaurants and culture this city has to offer.

Richard Sedwick

A graduate of VCU School of Dentistry in 2011, Richard Sedwick has returned to VCU excited to further his career and education in Endodontics. He is originally from Harrisonburg, VA, and has recently been practicing and living in the Staunton area with his wife, Heather, and their three children: Charlotte, Elliott, and Vivian. When he’s not reading dental lit or playing with the kids, Richard enjoys playing and watching soccer, hiking, and eating popcorn while watching Netflix.

Mei Tang

Mei Tang came to the US to pursue higher education. Originally from Macau, China, she graduated from University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Toxicology. She received her D.M.D. degree from University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and completed a general practice residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. She then interned at VCU Department of Endodontics before joining the endodontic residency program this summer. Her interests include baking, table tennis and argentine tango.

Second-year residents

Dr. Cyrous Ardalan

Ardalan grew up in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2007. After dental school, he completed a GPR at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He then practiced dentistry in New Orleans, LA before coming to VCU for his endodontic training. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and playing the guitar.


Dr. Riley Sturgill (husband Jeremiah)

Sturgill grew up in the small rural town of Piney Flats, Tenn. She graduated from King University in 2008, the same year she got married and moved with her husband, Jeremiah, to Arizona for both of them to attend the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Fast forward six years, and they are now in Richmond, Va. He practices orthodontics, and she specializes in endodontics at VCU. Sturgill loves nature, her pets (Keeper the golden retriever and Pogo the orange cat), and any sport, game or outdoor activity, making Richmond a great place for her and her family to live.

Dr. Husain Karashi

Karashi is from Kuwait. He attended Creighton University for his undergraduate studies. Later he earned his D.D.S. from Creighton University School of Dentistry. He went back to Kuwait and practiced for two years before joining the endodontic residency program at VCU. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer, running, baking and hanging out with family and friends.

Resident PhotoDr. Eshwar Arasu

Arasu is from Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he received his D.M.D. from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2015. He divides his time evenly between playing tennis, watching football, and eating at Chipotle.

September 2015 Newsletter

Department of Endodontics Newsletter: September 2015

November 2014 Newsletter

Department of Endodontics Newsletter: November 2014

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.

New faculty in endodontics

Ginny East_DDS_EndodonticsDr. Virginia East (D.D.S. ’85, Endodontics ’87) is from the great state of New York. She was a pioneer and attended Villanova University the first year they accepted female students. She moved to Virginia and graduated from the VCU School of Dentistry in 1985. She had two children in dental school completed a certificate in endodontics in 1987. At that time, you had to wait five years before you were eligible to take your boards.  East was board certified in endodontics in 1993. She practiced with Dr. Richard Hill in Richmond, Va. A year later, East opened a private practice in Richmond, Va., and worked there from 1987 – 2009. She loved her time in private practice and came to the dental school and taught part-time in the predoctoral clinic for five years.Life is what happens when making plans. East had a sports injury and later sold her practice. She was able to have a new surgical procedure performed in California, which allowed her to return to dentistry. She joined the endodontic faculty at the VCU School of Dentistry in 2012. East continues to teach full-time and enjoys teaching the general dentists of the future to do endodontics well. She finds it interesting to come back to her alma mater and see the changes that have occurred in the school. It has become a very culturally diverse place.

East is excited about the opportunities that are available in other areas of VCU as well. She currently is working with the VCU School of Engineering and VCU Innovation Gateway on projects related to endodontics. She enjoys traveling, camping in the Airstream and playing with her grandchildren.

Garry Myers_DDS_Endodontics

Dr. Garry L. Myers comes to VCU from Olympia, Wash., where he was a private practitioner in endodontic. After completing a degree in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he received his D.D.S. from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio dental school in 1985. Myers then left his Texas roots and entered the U.S. Air Force where he served as a dental officer for the next 13 years with assignments in Virginia, California, Texas, Nevada and Alaska. During his Texas assignment, he completed a residency program in endodontics at Wilford Hall Medical Center in 1991 and, despite the distractions of living in Las Vegas for the next four years, Myers was able to successfully complete the requirements to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics in 1994.

In 1998, Myers left the USAF to enter private practice in Olympia, Wash., where he practiced for the next 16 years. In 2007 he began teaching part-time at the University of Washington dental school in Seattle working with the endodontic residents one day a week, which quickly became his favorite day of the week. Myers was actively involved with the Washington State Association of Endodontists where he served as president from 2006 – 2007, and this evolved into his participation at the AAE level where he has served on a variety of committees, represented District VI on the Board of Directors and currently serves as the secretary for the AAE. Myers and his wife, Doreen, relocated to Richmond, Va., where he joined the VCU School of Dentistry Department of Endodontics on a full-time basis in July 2014 as an assistant professor. With him he brings a passion for Texas Longhorn football, an interest in photography and a love for the outdoors, having volunteered for 16 years on the Iditarod trail and hiking all around Mount Rainier National Park.

Dr. Spatafore

Dr. Clara Spatafore was born in Clarksburg, W.Va., and attended West Virginia University where she received her undergraduate degree in medical technology. She then earned her D.D.S., M.S. and certificate in endodontics from West Virginia University School of Dentistry. Prior to attending the endodontics program at WVU, she was in private practice as a general dentist in Pittsburgh for three years. After her endodontics program, Spatafore served in the U.S. Navy and then as chairman at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Endodontics. She then practiced at Allegheny General Hospital for 16 years and maintained a private practice during that time in Sewickley, Penn.

Currently, she works part-time in private practice in Sewickley, Penn., and also serves as an assistant professor of endodontics and chair of the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry. She maintains hospital privileges and teaches at Allegheny General Hospital and is a clinical instructor at the WVU School of Dentistry.

Spatafore, a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics, has been a member of the American Association of Endodontics since 1987. She has held a variety of leadership roles with the organization’s board, including president, president-elect, vice president and secretary of its executive committee as well as a director of the board, has served on several AAE committees and also serves on the Journal of Endodontics Scientific Review Board. Spatafore is a member of the American Dental Association, the Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania Dental Associations and the American College of Dentistry. She lectures nationally and internationally in all facets of endodontics.

She and her husband, Philip Bartling, reside in Sewickley, Penn. and Richmond, Va.  They have four children: Daniel and his wife Lena are AEGD residents at the Bay Pines VA Hospital in Florida;  Matthew works for Cascades Resorts in Vail, Colo.; Justina is a first-year student at the Tufts School of Vetinary Medicine in Boston; and Alyssa a freshman at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

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