Aviva Vincent, Researcher and Instructor, and her dog, Shaina
Study: Therapy Dogs Reduce Children's Fear, Anxiety During Dentist Appointments

A new Case Western Reserve University study found that children visiting the dentist reported reduced situational fear when a certified therapy dog is present. The research was done by the university’s School of Dental Medicine and Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, with support from Salimetrics, a Southern California company that collects saliva samples for analysis.

Aviva Vincent, a Mandel School instructor and researcher, and her team surveyed 199 dental patients and 79 dental professionals about the acceptability and desire to have therapy dogs in the pediatric dentist office. Results showed that 63 percent of the patients were interested, while 80 percent of the dental professionals were “open to the idea.” Then, 18 children between age 8 and 12 who needed cavities filled participated in the pilot study.

Researchers collected the children’s saliva samples before and after dogs were brought into the dentist office to measure cortisol and alpha-amylase—both stress indicators—and oxytocin, a relaxation response.  Vincent said that perhaps the biggest takeaway of the pilot study was that collecting saliva samples is a viable, non-invasive way to measure stress and fear indicators in social science research.

A rendering of the new Dental Clinic
CWRU and Cleveland Clinic Dedicate Health Education Campus Dental Clinic and Community Park

Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic celebrated completion of two projects designed to enhance the health and well-being of area residents—as well as dental education.

The first project is a 132,000-square-foot dental clinic located directly across from the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion on Chester Avenue. The dental clinic provides residents far easier access to dental care than the school’s existing location, with an adjacent parking lot, drop-off and pick-up at the clinic door, and far more airy and well-lit spaces. In addition, its neighborhood location makes it easier for students and faculty to provide educational outreach in local community centers and schools. The facility will open to patients on June 3rd.

The second project is the Newton Avenue Park, another shared project of the university and hospital, in addition to the Famicos Foundation, a local nonprofit community organization. The 28,000-square-foot park includes playground equipment, a walking trail and abundant green space. Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve agreed to create the park as part of its commitment to the community prior to building the dental clinic.

Portrait of Dr. Suchitra Nelson
Dental School Researchers Awarded $4.2 million to Study Seniors’ Oral Health

A team of researchers will use a $4.2 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study tooth-decay treatments in older adults. The goal: to use what they learn to adopt a more effective standard for treating senior citizens with cavities. Tooth decay often goes untreated in older adults because of worries about the cost, lack of transportation to make appointments and other medical concerns, said Suchitra Nelson, professor of community dentistry and assistant dean of clinical and translational research at the dental school.

Nelson and her team will examine if two treatments are comparatively effective: a simple medical treatment of topical silver fluoride or a less-complicated dental filling that doesn’t require a drill or fluoride.

PCORI selected to fund the study through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals.

Samson Pavilion Atrium
Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Clinic Launch New Era of Health Education with Samson Pavilion Dedication

This spring, the four-story, 477,000-square-foot building opens to 2,200 students from Case Western Reserve’s dental, nursing, and medical schools, including those from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. The Samson Pavilion expressly encourages interaction, surrounded on all sides by each floor’s open walkways and a wide staircase at every corner. It also features a dedicated shared space for students from all programs to study and relax.

The Pavilion’s extensive technology features include: two distinct digital anatomy programs, one using mixed reality, and the other virtual; simulation programs for flight nursing and ultrasound training; visualization tables that allow students to see anatomic structures in precise detail and explore clinical cases with classmates; and large LED wireless touch screens in classrooms that allow students to interact with high-resolution images and easily participate in video conferences from around the world.

Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic have equally shared fundraising throughout the project, and supporters have responded with exceptional generosity. To date, the two institutions together have raised nearly $275 million for the $515 million project, and active joint fundraising continues.

Dr. Anita Aminoshariae
Dr. Anita Aminoshariae Featured on ABC News Cleveland

Dr. Anita Aminoshariae of the Endodontics Department was featured on ABC News 5 on their January 31st broadcast. Dr. Aminoshariae discussed opioid pain relief and her opinion that dentists should never consider opioids their first choice in pain management, when over-the-counter drugs can be just as effective with fewer side effects. According to the ADA, dentists have been writing fewer opioid prescriptions over the 5-year period since 2012, but there is more that can be done.