Meet an Alum: Dr. Ronni Brown, Class of '91

Posted on: Tuesday, 05/12/2020

Ronni BrownAs a triple Bruin, Ronni Brown ’87, DDS ’91, MPH ’09, is no stranger to the UCLA campus. Her research on the effects of drug-use patterns on the severity of “meth mouth” has garnered national interest and has positioned her as a leading national expert. With more than 20 years of experience treating patients with “meth mouth”, Dr. Brown understands the behavioral and clinical challenges that the dental team faces when treating the addicted patient.

“If anyone had ever told me that I would be a dentist who worked with inmates at a medium security correctional facility, I would have told them where to go and how fast to get there! But it is true, real, cool, rewarding, and fascinating and has been my path and career direction for more than 20 years. It has opened my eyes to the magnitude of untreated dental disease that is experienced by so many people in our communities and the impact that substance abuse has on oral health.”

Dr. Brown has come to realize that the patients she sees aren’t isolated incidences of misfortune but reflective of the growing use of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs used by patients in all walks of life. She states that these drugs cause irreversible damage not just to their oral cavity but also to their lives; robbing them of their family, friends, physical and mental well-being, and even their freedom.

One of the positives that has come from her years of seeing the destruction that methamphetamines has caused is the knowledge, communication, and treatment strategies that she has learned, which allows her to provide predictable and high-quality dental care to her patients.

For those practices who want more guidance and expertise on recognizing, managing and treating these patients, Dr. Brown has just released a book: “A State of Decay”: Your Dental Guide to Understanding and Treating Meth Mouth.” In the book, she discusses the bridge between dentistry and substance abuse, and she shares evidence-based dentistry from her experiences while working at a medium-security correctional facility.