Welcome to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. We are a comprehensive unit encompassing all diagnostic disciplines of Dental Medicine. Our faculty direct several courses in our undergraduate and graduate curriculum that highlight the importance of a strong foundational knowledge of basic sciences to the practice of dental medicine. Our full-time members are board certified in their respective disciplines and offer full exposure to our students to routine patient screening and evaluation as well as diagnostic work-up of challenging cases. Our clinical services cover the School of Dental Medicine, the University Hospitals system (in collaboration with the Departments of Oral Surgery and the AEGD program) and local practicing dentists and physicians.
Our vision is to become a world-class center for oral medicine education and research and the diagnosis and non-surgical management of disorders occurring in the oral and maxillofacial complex. Interprofessional education and practice lie in the core of this mission, and we actively participate in several joint projects with the Schools of Nursing and Medicine. Our research involves orofacial pain, oral premalignant disorders, interprofesional education outcomes, and markers for response to treatment of mucosal disorders. I appreciate your interest in our Department and invite you to explore the additional pages that contain relevant information about who we are.
New Chair Researches Difficult-to-Diagnose Syndrome
Oral pain that feels like a scalded mouth and can last for months has baffled dental researchers since the 1970s, when burning oral sensations were linked to mucosal, periodontal and restorative disorders, and mental or emotional causes. It’s called burning mouth syndrome (BMS), and it’s gaining the attention of such dental researchers as oral pain expert Andres Pinto, chair of the Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Services. What’s frustrates patients and doctors alike, said Pinto, is that the mouth and gums appear normal, so diagnosis is difficult. Although the exact cause of BMS is unknown, the suspected origin is deterioration of the nerves beneath the oral lining. The deterioration isn’t visible, which explains why the mouth appears normal when examined and can delay diagnosis. Patients can receive relief with special mouthwashes, analgesics and other topical and systemic treatments. Pinto’s research has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, and he has participated in pain research and education initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health.
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