Dentists Gather to Sink Their Teeth into Bench-to-Chairside Research

Mar. 27, 2014
EIOH Assistant Professor Dr. Maricelle Abayon discusses resarch methodology for dental practices.

More than 100 dentists and other oral health care providers from the northeast U.S. recently gathered in Rochester as part of a nationwide translational research effort aimed at improving the public’s oral health.

The group is part of the National Dental Practice Based Research Network, funded by a $67 million National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research grant. The lead institution is the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Eastman Institute for Oral Health houses one of the six U.S. regional centers and is responsible for research activities in the northeast.  The Network is a consortium of nearly 5,000 U.S. providers representing dental practices and clinics who are devoted to conducting research with practical impact on care, paying special attention to topics that lack good evidence.

One such topic is treatment of cracked teeth. The National Dental PBRN will create a registry of information about cracked teeth, collected by network members over four years to identify a wide variety of characteristic s associated with initial symptoms, treatments and outcomes.

The Network’s northeast region hosted the meeting this month to provide a forum for members to share previous experiences, and to discuss optimal research methodology in a private practice setting.

Practitioners presented results of previous practice-based studies, and others shared topics they would like to see studied among the network or are already approved protocol. “These include dentin hypersensitivity treatment and common practices of head and neck exams for oral cancer in dental offices,” explained Cyril Meyerowitz, DDS, MS, former EIOH director and principal investigator for the network’s northeast region. Topics under development in the northeast include diagnosis and treatment of salivary dysfunction in dental offices, impact of new anticoagulants on bleeding in dental offices, and dental hygienists approach to oral disease prevention, among others.

“Being a member of the network has expanded my view of dental care,” said Allan J. Horowitz, DDS, a member of the practitioner advisory group who practices in King of Prussia, PA. “It brings fresh insight into what I do on a daily basis. It has enhanced the excitement that my staff brings to work every day, and our patients appreciate and want to be a part of the vision of improving dentistry into the future.”