Although recently retired due to a hand injury, Dr. María López Howell continues to support her husband, Dr. Mark Howell and their family business at the Garden Ridge Center for Dentistry with office management.
Dr. María completed a B.A. degree in biology in addition to a minor degree in Chemistry from St. Mary’s University in 1979. In 1983, both Dr. María and Dr. Mark completed Doctorate of Dental Surgery degrees at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry and married later that year. In 1995, Dr. Maria completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency.
Dr. María taught at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry from 1985-2002. She achieved tenure in 1989 and maintained a Clinical Professor academic appointment until recently. During these years, she served as director for both clinical and non-clinical courses.
Dr. Mark Howell asked her to come and work with him in 2002 when the Garden Ridge area was developing rapidly and his dental practice was growing. While in private practice, Dr. María Howell continued to lecture nationally to dental assistants in the area of dental materials.
Dr. Howell was a spokesperson for the American Dental Association from 1991-2020. She regularly met with local, national, and international media outlets regarding dental consumer issues. In 1988, she was selected as the national host of the American Dental Association’s “Dental Minute,” an informative 60-second television and radio program covering many dental topics that aired until 2014. The shows were finalists for a 2006 Freddie Award in the area of national and international healthcare media and were honored with a Nielsen Media Research award for the longest running public service announcement series in television history.
Serving her profession of dentistry has been a passion. Dr. Howell has served as President of the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry and the Texas Section of the American College of Dentists . She is a retired member of the American Dental Association, the Hispanic Dental Association,the American College of Dentists, and the International College of Dentists.
In 2015, Dr. María López Howell was honored as the first Distinguished Alumna for the UT Health Dental School in San Antonio. The San Antonio Dental Society and the local chapter of the Academy of General Dentistry nominated Dr. Howell for Texas Dentist of the Year in 2003 and again in 2021. In addition to helping manage the Garden Ridge Center for Dentistry, Dr. María pursues interests in physical, nutritional and frequency health and spending time with children, Blake & Meredith Howell and Candace & Matt Finn.