Endodontics division invests in new technology while honoring alumni

Images of Stephen Hunter's family and the ASI Cart dedicated to Hunter

The School of Dentistry’s Division of Endodontics is investing in state-of-the-art equipment, and honoring valued members of the community along the way.

Craig Noblett, DDS, MS, director of endodontics, made the decision to invest in ASI carts to best prepare his residents for their futures.

“These are designed specifically with endodontics in mind,” Noblett explained. “ASI carts will greatly assist and facilitate the treatment residents are doing, and will assist us in  preparing them for private practice.”

Each cart combines the handpieces and preexisting units within a chair alongside other instruments like an electric motor, ultrasonic instruments and irrigation instruments, allowing everything to be controlled through one place and with one foot pedal.

Just as Noblett was preparing for this investment, tragedy struck an endodontics alumnus. Stephen Hunter, DDS ’78, MS ’96, was killed in a biking accident. Knowing Hunter’s love for the School of Dentistry and the endodontics department in general, his wife, Anne, designated the Division of Endodontics as a recipient of donations in Hunter’s honor.

That designation, combined with a significant donation from Hunter’s sister-in-law, allowed Noblett to dedicate one of the new carts to Hunter, complete with a named plaque. This prompted Noblett to open this opportunity to other donors, launching a Dedicate a Cart initiative that allowed anyone who provided a gift of $5,000 or more to the department to dedicate a new unit to whomever they wished.

So far, less than a year after Hunter’s death, seven of the eight carts have been designated to dedications.

The first cart was dedicated to Hunter in a small ceremony at the School of Dentistry on September 23.

Noblett thanked Hunter’s family, including his wife, Anne, their daughters, Sara and Mari, and his sister-in-law, Sandy, for inspiring the idea to purchase the carts. Anne recalled Hunter’s love for dentistry, which he often compared to carpentry, and for the University of Minnesota. 

Noblett is immensely grateful for the generosity of the Hunter family and others that allowed him to make this change for his residents—and with four units installed now, the new technology is already making an impact.

“The residents are very excited by the new carts,” he explained. “I think they appreciate that we’re investing in equipment that will continue to help them in the future—and I’m not sure they have even fully explored the potential yet.”