Research in the PRDS spans the spectrum from basic to translational to clinical research. Areas of emphasis include, the application of the analytical techniques of materials science to the characterization of dental hard tissues and hard tissue cellular matrix and restorative materials; characterization and testing of dental materials; the effects of restorative procedures on the dental pulp; basic research into that organ’s biology; psychological aspects of temporomandibular joint disorders; multi-school collaborative electronic patient record studies; preventive, diagnostic, and laser research for modifying the enamel to be more resistant to dental caries and therapeutic laser applications in dentistry; caries risk assessment; and caries prevention and management.
Research in oral epidemiology, public health, and behavioral science includes a spectrum of ongoing projects on the epidemiology of oral diseases and the delivery of dental care. The Department houses the School’s NIH-funded Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health (CAN DO) and is one of only five such centers in the US and the only one in California. The CAN DO Center aims to understand, prevent and reduce oral health disparities in young children, with a primary focus on preventing early childhood caries. Faculty in the department have ongoing studies in patient and population-based research, including clinical trials and other types of clinical research. Faculty are working with dental insurers to develop new, nonsurgical approaches and insurance products that will emphasize preventive measures to prevent, treat, and manage dental caries as well as understand the effects of dental care on medical care costs.