2017 10 Under 10 winner: Setting a precedent as the president

By | November 5, 2018

“I’m excited to show that a younger dentist can do it!”

Dr. Vanessa Benavent is the youngest president ever — by a wide margin — of the Maryland State Dental Association. Yet this busy dentist, with a private practice in Clarksville, MD, easily juggles multiple challenges with poise, skill and conviction.

ADA 10 Under 10 Award recipient Dr. Benavent became an organized dentistry volunteer in 2013, chairing various committees for the Howard County Dental Association and becoming HCDA Trustee. Her stellar performance was quickly noticed statewide, and in 2016 she was voted president-elect of the Maryland State Dental Association. The presidency followed in 2017, and this September she transitioned to immediate past president — a three-year stint in all. Notably, she has brought much of the association’s operations into the digital age, with video conferencing now routine.

As president, Dr. Benavent has spent virtually all of her free hours in Annapolis, educating state legislators on the need to protect patients from insurance company mandates and safeguard the doctor-patient relationship.

After earning a D.D.S. at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Dr. Benavent earned an M.S.D. in Orofacial Pain at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. Now as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, she is in demand as a “last resort” by patients with chronic pain who have already seen multiple specialists without relief. She is also sought after as a lecturer, invited presenter and expert witness in this emerging specialty.

Dr. Benavent serves as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and earlier was clinical director of the Brotman Orofacial Pain Clinic. She is active with the International Association for the Study of Pain, American Association for Dental Research, International Association for Dental Research, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Orofacial Pain and serves on the board of the American Board of Orofacial Pain. Recently, she was a contributing author for the 6th edition of Orofacial Pain: Guidelines for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Management.

A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Benavent earned her B.S. at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez and followed in her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps to become a third-generation dentist graduate of University of Maryland. So it’s no surprise she, and husband David, would be thrilled if their infant Ollie grows up to become a fourth-generation practitioner. One thing for certain is that her 10 Under 10 award came as an honor and a gift; Ollie was born just days after she received the news, and the extra funds were most appreciated during maternity leave!

Dr. Benavent is a winner of the 2017 10 Under 10 Award. Watch for the call for nominations for the 2018 10 Under 10 Awards at ADA.org/10under10.

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