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Dentistry is just the beginning

The mission of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is to provide outstanding programs in oral health education, patient care, focused research and scholarship, and service that are of value to our constituents. We accomplish this in an environment that fosters collegiality and professionalism and that enables a diverse group of students to become competent oral health care providers and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

The School of Dental Medicine's core values are: collegiality; a culture of inquiry; diversity; innovation; integrity; and responsible stewardship.

Lifelong Smiles Initiative Trains Students in Geriatric Dentistry

Drs. Suparna Mahalaha and Nicole Harris‌In the five years since Anita Stone last saw a dentist, she lost teeth and struggled to chew food. But recently, dentists came to her, traveling to a suburban Cleveland senior citizen health center, where they provided the 74-year-old retiree with a cleaning, X-rays and hope for a less painful future—all within a customized van that is the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio. The "Lifelong Smiles" van's goal is to train dental students to treat older patients and, at the same time, offer needed services to residents of Cleveland-area nursing and assisted-living facilities.

"Everything done in a dental office, we can do in the van," said Nicole Harris, DDS, MPH (DEN '01), a visiting assistant professor in the school's Department of Community Dentistry and co-director of the program, "We are training our students to treat a population that often does not receive adequate dental care." The 38-foot van is equipped with two dental areas, known as operatories, for oral exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions, denture fittings and other services. In addition, two mobile dental chairs can be set up within a facility to serve more patients.

The dental school launched the program in January, hiring Harris and Suparna Argekar Mahalaha, DDS, MPH (CWR '98, DEN '01, GRS '04, public health), as codirectors. They're now teaching third-year students to assess and treat older patients, and are directing clinical rotations on the van for fourth-year students. The new program also includes interdisciplinary training, in which dental students assess patients alongside students from other fields including medicine, nursing and social work. Completing the program is a new requirement for the dental school's students.

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OMMDS' Dr. Pinto Receives National Dental Association Foundation Award

Dr. Andres Pinto‌Dr. Andres Pinto has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) and Colgate-Palmolive Co. Award for Outstanding Minority Faculty in the category of research. The NDAF, in collaboration with the National Dental Association (NDA) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) have awarded these annual honors for the past 18 years. They recognize excellence in the categories of teaching, research, and service within dental education. The award was presented to Dr. Pinto at the National Dental Association’s 102th Annual Convention in Chicago in July. Dr. Pinto has been a tenured faculty member at CWRU since 2013 and led the creation of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. He is an active member of the staff of CWRU and University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Late Alumnus Oreste ”Russ” Zanni Leaves $3 million to School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Oreste ”Russ” Zanni‌Four decades after he graduated, Oreste “Russ” Zanni still felt a special tie to Case Western Reserve’s School of Dental Medicine. For one thing, the place provided him a powerful foundation for a flourishing career that spanned treatment, research, and teaching. For another, it remained home to special colleagues and friends, including Nabil Bissada, a fellow alumnus who now leads the school’s periodontics department.

In the summer 2013, Zanni suffered a fatal heart attack while teaching Boston University (BU) dental students. Two years later, Case Western Reserve’s School of Dental Medicine learned that its graduate had dedicated $3 million from his estate to the school. “We are grateful for Dr. Zanni’s vision and commitment to both patients and students and for his alma mater,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “His gift will allow us to continue to advance periodontal research and teaching.”

“We shared a common love of our specialty,” Bissada said. “Russ was very excited about periodontal research focused on the link between gum disease and other medical conditions.” For example, Bissada’s research has identified links between gum disease and oral cancer, diabetes, prostate issues and even failures of implants for the hip and knee. Zanni’s commitment will support the periodontics department. In recognition of his generosity, the periodontal clinic at the Health Education Campus will bear his name.

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Study Finds Dental Implants Result in Better Quality of Life for Osteoporotic Women Than Other Treatment Options

Dr. Leena Palomo‌With age, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at greater risk of losing their teeth. But what treatment for tooth loss provides women with the highest degree of satisfaction in their work and social lives? A new study by CWRU School of Dental Medicine researchers suggests dental implants may be the best route to take, according to Leena Palomo, associate professor of periodontics and corresponding author. The research is part of a series of studies analyzing dental outcomes for women with osteoporosis.

In one of the first studies to examine quality of life after treatment to replace missing teeth in osteoporotic women, the researchers surveyed 237 women about their satisfaction with replacement teeth and how it improved their lives at work and in social situations. The 23-question survey rated satisfaction with their work, health, emotional and sexual aspects of their lives.

The women had restoration work done that included implants (64 women), fixed partial denture, which is a false tooth cemented to crowns of two teeth (60), a removal denture, better known as false teeth (47), or had no restoration work done (66). Women with dental implants reported a higher overall satisfaction with their lives, including emotional and sexual areas, while those without restorations scored the lowest in those two areas.

As health professions move to a patient-centered form of delivering dental service, understanding the patient’s outcomes for satisfaction of the treatment’s esthetics is as important as chewing function, said Christine DeBaz, third-year dental student and lead researcher on the project.

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CWRU and Cleveland Clinic Collaborate with Microsoft on Mixed-Reality Technology

Student Using HoloLens Technology (Microsoft)‌Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer, enabling high-definition holograms to come to life, seamlessly integrating with physical places, spaces, and things. Holograms mixed with the real world (mixed-reality) will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play. CWRU Radiology Professor Mark Griswold spoke at Microsoft’s annual Build conference about how Microsoft’s HoloLens program can transform learning across countless subjects, from art to engineering, but began with a demonstration of a holographic heart. With HoloLens, students can, “see it truly in 3D. You can take parts in and out. You can turn it around. You can see the blood pumping—the entire system.” In other words, it can improve upon existing educational methods, and will do so for CWRU students at the new Health Education Campus.

After deciding to move forward with the new Health Education Campus, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove approached Microsoft for a collaboration so that the state-of-the-art structure will also have pioneering technology and cutting-edge teaching techniques. Though the program has potential applications for engineering, astronomy, art history, and any number of other programs, the priority is on creating a full digital anatomy curriculum that students will experience at the new Health Education Campus.

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Spring 2015 Magazine

In this issue:

  • Health Education Campus to Change the Face of Dental Education
  • Smithsonian Exhibit Displays Alumnus' Fascinating Research
  • CWRU Surve Finds Dental Anxiety Leads Cause for Moderate Sedation
  • And much more!
Download the PDF here

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More magazines and departmental newsletters are available in the archive.