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Martha Wells, DMD, MS
Martha Wells, DMD, MS

Martha Wells, DMD, MS

Member, St. Jude Faculty

  • Chief of Dentistry, Surgery Department




BS (Biology) – Emory University
DMD - Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University
MS - The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Honors and Awards

  • Dr. Lewis A. Kay Excellence in Education Award, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
  • Heber Simmons Jr. Endowed Professorship, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Dr. John Diggs Nelson Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Dental Education
  • Augusta University’s Top 20 Emerging Alumni Leaders
  • Outstanding Mentor Academy Inductee, College of Graduate Health Sciences, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • College of Dentistry Dean’s Appreciation Award, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Fellow
  • Bowyer Clinical Sciences Faculty Enrichment Award, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • American College of Dentists, Fellow
  • Richard Doggett Dean & Marguerite Taylor Dean Odontological Society, Keynote speaker

Research Interests

  • Dental materials and technology utilized in pediatric dentistry:
    •  Prefabricated zirconia crowns
    • Dental sealants
    • High-powered light emitting
  • Parental perceptions of behavior guidance techniques used in pediatric dentistry
  • Effectiveness of behavior guidance techniques used in pediatric dentistry

My academic interests are focused on laboratory and clinical investigation of dental materials and technology used for pediatric patients.  These include dental sealants, third and fourth generation dental curing lights, and pre-fabricated pediatric zirconia crowns.  I have heavily contributed to the laboratory science that has direct clinical application for high-powered light emitting diode curing lights and pediatric zirconia crowns.  I have studied multiple curing lights featuring new technology regarding their ability to adequately cure dental sealants and resin materials with higher energy in a shorter time.  Prefabricated pediatric zirconia crowns are a newer dental product and have evolved over time as their clinical use has increased.  I have investigated them, and their respective cements, both in vitro and clinically since they became commercially available over a decade ago.

A second area of interest is behavior guidance and shifting parental preferences.  Pediatric dentists use an array of psychological interventions and pharmacologic tools to help children cope with dental procedures.  I have studied the effectiveness of methods such as pharmacologic sedation as well as alternative techniques such as animal assisted therapy in improving cooperation and acceptance of behavior techniques. As parenting styles continue to evolve, I have explored parental perceptions, expectations, and acceptance of treatment modalities and restorative options for dental cavities in the primary dentition.

Selected Publications

Sparks J, Funderburk JM, Tantbirojn D, Versluis A, Wells M*. Tooth Structure Removed in Primary Molar Prefabricated Crown Preparations of Typodont Teeth. Pediatr Dent Mar 15;44(2):136-140, 2022.

Wilson C, Versluis A, Versluis D, Wells MH.* Pilot Study of Tooth Structure Removed in Primary Molar Zirconia Crown Preparations of Typodont Teeth. Recent Progress in Materials; special issue: Advanced Dental Materials 3(2), 2021.

Grisham EA, Wells MH*, Kocak M, De Schepper E, Woods MA, Fernandez J.  Qualitative Study of Parental Preferences in Difficult Child. Behavior Scenarios. Interventions in Pediatric Dentistry Open Access Journal 7(1):605-611, 2021.

Charowski M, Wells MH*, Dormois LD, Fernandez JA, Scarbecz M, Maclin M. A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study Examining Effects of Animal Assisted Therapy in Children Undergoing Sealant Placement. Pediatr Dent 43(1):10-16, 2021. PMID: 33662243

Pate JD, Wells MH*, Morrow BR, Ragain JC, Garcia-Godoy F. Color Stability of Prefabricated Pediatric Zirconia Crowns Following Sterilization. Pediatr Dent 43(1):50-56, 2021. PMID: 33662251

Karnish SW, Wells, MH*, Versluis A, Tantbirojn, D,  Simon JF. An In Vitro Comparison of Indirect Versus Direct Restorations of Incisal Edge Fractures. Pediatr Dent Mar 15;42(2):141-145, 2020.

Cloud C, Versluis D, Wells MH, Versluis A. Comparison of depth of cure in opaque sealant cured with high irradiance light-emitting diodes at various light tip distance. Oral Sciences International 17(3):1-6, 2020.

Hottel TL, Jack RL, Taynor E, Wells M, Hollis W. Improved Yale Total Tic Severity Score Due to Craniofacial Manipulation With an Oral Appliance. Compend Contin Educ Dent Jan;40(1):e6-e15, 2019.
Smith MA, Wells MH*, Vinall, C, Woods, MA, Scarbecz, M.  Parents’ Preferences and Perceptions of Their Children’s Consumption of Sugar and Non-Nutritive Sugar Substitutes. Pediatr Dent Mar 15;41(2):119-128, 2019.

Slaven CM, Wells, MH*, DeSchepper EJ, Dormois, LD, Vinall CV, Douglas KM. Effectiveness and Student Satisfaction with Three Teaching Methods for Behavior Guidance Techniques. J Dent Ed 83(8):966-972, 2019.

Wells MH*, Dormois LD, Townsend JA. Behavior guidance: that was then but this is now. Gen Dent 66(6):39-45, 2018.

Fernandez J, Wells M*. Management of post-operative dental pain in children. Decisions in Dentistry 4(11):32,35-37, 2018.

Wells M*, Law C. Usage of behavior guidance techniques differs by provider and practice characteristics in pediatric dentistry. Pediatr Dent May 15;40(3):201-208, 2018.

Stepp P, Morrow BR, Wells M*, Tipton D, Garcia-Godoy F.  Microleakage of cements in prefabricated zirconia crowns. Pediatr Dent Mar;40(2):136-139, 2018.

Denson N, Wells M, Tipton DA, Garcia-Godoy F, Babu JP.  Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on direct, tooth-colored restorative materials: An in vitro study. Adv Dent Oral Health 8(3):555736, 2018.

Douglas KM, Wells MH*, Deschepper EJ, Donaldson ME. Traditional lecture versus video/discussion‑based instruction and their effects on learning behavior guidance techniques. J Educ Ethics Dent 7(2):30-36, 2017.

Versluis A, Church BW, Tantbirojn D, Do T, Wells MH. Depth-of-cure of Bulk-fill Composites cured in Tooth or Opaque Substrate. Int J Experiment Dent Sci 6(2):1-6, 2017.

Vinall CV, Garcia Silva TC, Lou J, Wells M*, Tantbirojn D, Versluis A.  Intrapulpal temperature rise during light-activation of restorative composites in a primary molar. Pediatr Dent May 15;39(3):125-130, 2017.

Iskander M, Lou J, Wells M*, Scarbecz M.  A poster and a mobile healthcare application as information tools for dental trauma management. Dent Traumatol Dec;32(6):457-463, 2016.

Holsinger DM, Wells MH*, Scarbecz M, Donaldson M.  Clinical Evaluation and Parental Satisfaction with Pediatric Zirconia Anterior Crowns. Pediatr Dent 38(3):192-7, 2016.  

White J, Wells M*,   Arheart, KL,  Donaldson, M, Woods, MA. A Questionnaire of Parental Perceptions of Conscious Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatr Dent 38(2):116-21, 2016

Clark L, Wells MH*, Harris EF, Lou J.  Comparison of Amount of Primary Tooth Reduction Required for Anterior and Posterior Zirconia and Stainless Steel Crowns. Pediatr Dent 38(1):42-6, 2016.

Branchal CF, Wells M*, Tantbirojn D, Versluis A.  Can increasing the manufacturer recommended shortest curing time of high-intensity LEDs adequately cure sealants?  Pediatr Dent Jul-Aug;37(4):E7-13, 2015.

Lenahan M, Wells M*, Scarbecz M.  A retrospective study of 248 pediatric oral sedations utilizing the combination of meperidine and hydroxyzine for dental treatment. J Clin Pediatr Dent Fall;39(5):481-7, 2015.

Kitchens, B, Wells, M*, Tantbirojn, D, Versluis, A. Depth of Cure of Sealants Polymerized with High-Power Light Emitting Diode Curing Lights. Int J Paediatr Dent Mar;25(2):79-86, 2015.

Allen B, Migliorati C, Rowland C, An Q, Shintaku W, Donaldson M, Wells M, Kaste S. Comparison of mandibular cortical thickness and QCT-derived bone mineral density (BMD) in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a retrospective study. Int J Paediatr Dent Sep 15, 2015.

Wells M*, McTigue D, Casamassimo P, Adair S.  Gender shifts and effects on behavior guidance.  Pediatr Dent Mar-Apr;36(2):102-108, 2014.

Tanner S, Wells M*, Scarbecz M, McCann BW Sr.  Parents' understanding of and accuracy in using measuring devices to administer liquid oral pain medication. J Am Dent Assoc Feb;145(2):141-9, 2014.

Smith NK, Morris KT, Wells M*, Tantbirojn D, Versluis A. Rationale for Caries Inhibition of Debonded Glass Ionomer Sealants: An In Vitro Study. Pediatr Dent Nov-Dec;36(7):464-7, 2014.

Wells M. Oral Health Status of Children with Craniofacial Anomalies. Pediatr Dent May-Jun;35(3):E79-86, 2013.

Last update: February 2023