Touro College of Dental Medicine Holds Second-Ever Research Day

Students and Faculty Present Findings and Learn Proper Applications of Opioids in Pain Control

July 10, 2023
Faculty and students at Touro College of Dental Medicine hold the awards and commendations they received during the school\'s second annual Research Day.
Students at Touro College of Dental Medicine presented their research during the school's second annual Research Day.

As he concluded his fourth year of dental school, Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) student Brett Allen was excited for the school’s second annual Research Day and Student Research Competition.

“It’s a great chance to talk about a project I’ve worked on for the last year,” said Allen who together with fellow student Antony Muzika examined the differences between conventional tooth restoration and restoration via state-of-the-art digital dentistry.

Their project was one of the 32 student-developed research posters on display on the college’s campus on May 4, ranging from sociological studies about poverty’s impact on dental healthcare to the nitty gritty of tooth repair like Allen’s project.

In addition to the poster presentations, students and faculty members listened to a keynote speech from Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H, Clinical Professor and Director at NYU Center for Oral Health Policy and Management, and President Emeritus at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), about the role of dentists in addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“This event speaks to the heart of what a university is; a place of discovery, a place in which questions are asked and scientific inquiry leads to answers, and a place in which many of these answers will lead to better patient outcomes,” said Ronnie Myers, D.D.S., Dean of Touro College of Dental Medicine, who credited the faculty, students and TCDM’s Director of Research and an associate professor of periodontics Jaffer A Shariff D.D.S., M.P.H., D.P.H., M.S., for organizing the successful event.

The day concluded with a panel discussion of TCDM students moderated by Touro University Provost for Biomedical Research Salomon Amar, D.D.S., Ph.D., entitled, “Controversies in Pain Management and Opioid Use in Dentistry.”

The posters were judged by several TCDM faculty members with different fields of expertise based on standardized criteria such as poster content, appearance, and the quality of the oral presentation. 

The following projects received awards:

1st Place: Use of Laser in Treating Periodontal Defects—Jordan Sahawneh

2nd Place:  Fixed Single Unit Tooth-Boren Restoration: Digital vs. Conventional Protocols—Brett Allen & Antony Muzika

2nd Place: The Importance of Upper Lip Curvature in Determining an Esthetic Smile Arc

3rd Place: Impact of Socio-Demographic Status on Children’s Dental vs. Medical Health—Anish Cheriyan

3rd Place: Golden Ratio in Different Ethnic Groups—Mozdeh Nematollahi & Priscila Peña

Last year’s Research Day winner Rachel Sebastian was flown out to Oregon to present her research at the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research/Canadian Association of Dental Research’s (AADOCR/CADR) conference’s Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and Its Application (SCADA).

Speaking about the day’s events, Allen said he was delighted that his project received a second-place nod, but he was more gratified by the clinical knowledge he received from the keynote speaker and the panel.

“Debating the subject and hearing the keynote address gave me alternatives to prescribing opioids especially in cases where we can use over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol,” Allen said. “It helped us become more comfortable understanding what to prescribe and how to manage a patient’s pain. That’s the most important thing about something like Research Day: it’s going to make us better dentists.”