Texas A&M School of Dentistry

Faculty and Staff

Mallonee publishes new edition of dental hygiene ‘bible’


The field of dentistry is constantly evolving, creating new standards of care, and Professor Lisa Mallonee, co-author of the latest edition of “Wilkins’ Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist,” is ensuring that information makes its way into the classroom.

“It’s the 14th edition,” said Mallonee, interim associate dean of academic affairs and tenured professor in the dental hygiene department at Texas A&M School of Dentistry. “Dr. Esther Wilkins published the first text in the 1950s. She is the matriarch of dental hygiene. I used the textbook when I was in my dental hygiene program, the 5th edition, in 1988.”

First published in 1959, Wilkins’ (1916-2016) book is one of the cornerstone textbooks of dental hygiene practices. It is the “bible of dental hygiene,” as Mallonee called it. The 14th edition, released in June, continues a long tradition of providing dental hygiene students with current knowledge in a straightforward, outline format to ensure students develop the knowledge and skills needed for successful, evidence-based practice in today’s rapidly changing oral health care environment. The textbook is used by almost every dental hygiene education program in the United States, including Texas A&M School of Dentistry.

“It is integrated into the first year of the dental hygiene curriculum,” Mallonee said. “It introduces them to all aspects of patient care. As with any textbook, you’re updating to the most current evidence, making sure the content is pertinent to students’ learning needs and making sure it’s at the highest level of scientific evidence. Content included in the text on special populations can be utilized in both the first year and second year curriculum.”

Mallonee worked on the updated textbook alongside Linda Boyd, associate dean of graduate studies at the Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Mallonee discovered Boyd’s published work when she was a graduate student, conducting research in the late ’90s. She contacted Boyd to make an introduction given their similar professional backgrounds. They’re both registered dental hygienists and dietitians. Through this, they developed a working relationship years later, teaming up for publications pertinent to their combined areas of expertise and became friends over the years. In 2016, Boyd, who had taken the reigns as lead author of the textbook at Wilkins’ request, asked Mallonee to join as coauthor on the 13th edition.

“I am honored to be on the author team that is continuing Dr. Esther Wilkins’ legacy,” Mallonee said. “The most recently published edition was very time intensive; we were on a quick timeline. We published the 13th edition in 2020, and we started the 14th edition in June 2021. Given all the changes that occurred in dentistry as a result of the pandemic, we felt it was necessary to update the next edition sooner. I would have never imagined when I was in my undergraduate dental hygiene program at UNC that I would one day have my name on the cover of this staple text in dental hygiene education.”

Mallonee is also currently working on the 6th edition of “The Dental Hygienist’s Guide to Nutritional Care.” She was approached by the textbook’s original author, Cynthia Stegeman, to be a co-author of the new edition, but unfortunately, Stegeman passed away unexpectedly in 2021. Mallonee is now updating the textbook as the primary author, with a target publication date of summer 2024.