Dr. Scarlet Charmelo, who earned a dental degree in her native Venezuela, followed by two residencies and several years of private practice, joined the Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences faculty in 2019.
1 You’ve noted that your career is sometimes akin to detective work. Can you explain?
In oral medicine, many symptoms we see can be manifestations of systemic conditions such as diabetes, infections and autoimmune disorders, among others. We are the bridge between dentistry and medicine, and we often have to do a lot of investigating to arrive at a proper diagnosis. We don’t just treat the symptoms, we search for the cause. Skills like creativity and inventiveness are really important. I love the specialty because it involves a lot of thinking and investigation.
2 Considering that your area of expertise often involves referrals in both directions, do you have any tips for coordinating treatment with multidisciplinary colleagues?
It’s a two-way relationship. I work very closely with other specialists to treat patients, and it’s very nice to be immersed in their areas of expertise. It feels really good to work with people committed to providing the best treatment possible for our patients.
3 How do you stay current in your field?
I’m the director for a course on medical complications, and being prepared for my lectures requires me to always be involved in the learning process as well. I stay active with the American Academy of Oral Medicine, presenting posters and abstracts. I also recently published an article in the American Journal of Dermatopathology. I have to keep up to date, because the information is always changing. That’s one reason I love academic dentistry so much. I can teach, see patients and stay involved in advances in dentistry. That’s an excellent combination.