About the Linda C. Niessen Geriatric Dentistry Symposium

Dr. Linda C. Niessen

Initiated in 2013 by Dr. Helena Tapias, assistant professor in restorative sciences, the annual symposium is geared toward helping dentists address the needs of geriatric patients.

The Symposium is named in honor of Dr. Linda Niessen, a longtime clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry and now dean of Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Linda C. Niessen Symposia in recent college news

For more information on the Linda C. Niessen Symposia, contact the department of Restorative Sciences.

Save the Date!

Friday, May 17,  2019

The 7th Annual Linda C. Niessen Geriatric Dentistry Symposium

Watch this page for details as they become available.

Previous Niessen Symposia:

2018 Linda C. Niessen Geriatric Dentistry Symposium - Concluded

Visionary treatment options and technology: Improving outcomes for the edentulous patient

Evidence supports declining edentulism in the US, however, among impoverished and elderly patients edentulism remains prevalent. As older Americans retain natural teeth, concerns regarding maintenance, treatment costs and prosthodontic complexity arise as dental schools de-emphasize predoctoral removable prosthodontics. This presentation features expedited clinical steps, materials and techniques optimizing outcomes and answering the following questions:

  • Can digital technology simplify complete denture treatment and reduce costs?
  • Are implant dentures the first-choice treatment for edentulism?
  • What's slowing acceptance of digital dentures by patients and professionals? 
  • What are some practical clinical tips for managing common denture problems?  

This 7-hour presentation detailed expedited clinical and laboratory steps for constructing conventional dentures comparing those with digital denture design and fabrication. The recently Digital Denture course included to the Texas A&M College of Dentistry curriculum, was explained in detail with the same steps and guidelines implemented to teach this digital technology to the dental students. Implant retained mandibular conventional as well as digital dentures with and without 3-D imaging was also presented. Practical clinical tips and management techniques addressing common denture problems affecting elderly patients were included.

2016 Linda C. Niessen Symposium - Concluded

This dynamic symposium included four faculty members from the College who have extensive experience in Oral Care for the aging population.  They shared their knowledge in an exciting day of individual lectures culminating in a panel discussion which stimulated interest and encouraged new ideas as we continue to learn about improving the oral care for this population of patients with an interdisciplinary approach.


About Linda C. Niessen D.M.D., MPH, MPP

This Symposium has been named in the honor of Dr. Linda Niessen for her contributions to the dental profession with special contributions to the field of geriatric dentistry.

Dr. Linda C. NiessenDr. Linda C. Niessen currently serves as Dean, Nova Southeastern University. College of Dental Medicine.  Prior to her newly appointed Dean position, she served as Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Dentsply International and clinical professor in the department of restorative sciences at the Texas A&M University, College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. She has provided geriatric dental care to veterans on staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dallas.

Throughout her career, Dr. Niessen has been active in professional dental organizations, having served as president of the American Association of Women Dentists, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the American Board of Dental Public Health (the certifying board for the specialty of public health dentistry), and the Dallas County Dental Society. Currently she is President-elect of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, and serves on the Board of Regents of the American College of Dentists and Board of Directors for Oral Health America. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and American Board of Special Care Dentistry.

A noted lecturer, writer, and public health advocate, Dr. Niessen has authored a textbook on geriatric dentistry titled Geriatric Dentistry: Aging and Oral Health, and is author or co-author of more than 60 scientific articles in peer-reviewed publications. She has received numerous awards, including the American Dental Association’s Dental Health Award for her work on providing dental care to people with Alzheimer’s disease; the Jack Hein Award for Public Service from the American Association of Dental Research; and the Pierre Fauchard Academy Gold Medal to name a few. During her tenure as Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at College of Dentistry, she initiated graduate education programs in dental public health and geriatric dental care as part of the college's partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Dr. Niessen has served as a spokesperson for the American Dental Association and has hosted “Dental Health Check,” a weekly dental news report originating from WFAA-TV (Dallas’s ABC affiliate).

Dr. Niessen is a graduate of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and received her MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives with her husband in Dallas, Texas and they have two sons: one, an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon practicing in California; the second son, a dentist, pursing an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at UMKC in Kansas City, Missouri.

Helena Tapias-Perdigon D.D.S., MS

Dr. Tapias-PerdigonDr Helena Tapias-Perdigon currently is Assistant Professor for Texas A&M University College of Dentistry- Department of Restorative Sciences, since 2008. In addition to being a clinical professor, she is pursuing research in Geriatrics. She earned her DDS degree at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1994 and she received her Master Degree in Geriatric Dentistry from the Oral Health Services for Older Adults Program, MS, University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry in 2007.

She is an active member of the Special Care in Dentistry Association and International Geriatric Oral Research Group. She serves as secretary for the Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education Group from the American Dental Education Association. She is part of the National Faculty Advisor Committee for the Hispanic Dental Association and she is a Board Member of the North Texas Hispanic Dental Association.

Dr. Tapias was invited speaker during the last Southwest Dental Conference in areas of her field (Geriatric Dentistry) as well as invited lecturer during IADR conferences in previous years.

She is the planner and creator of the Linda C. Niessen Geriatrics Symposium with the only vision of promoting Geriatric Dentistry training in annual basis, for Faculty Members, Dentists, Hygienists and Dental/Hygiene Students, fostering   the best oral care for the senior population in our community.