Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is a painful, complex condition associated with a chronic or recurring burning, scalding or tingling feeling in the mouth—sometimes accompanied by a metallic taste or dry mouth sensation. But because other conditions have similar symptoms, diagnosing BMS can be difficult, said Milda Chmieliauskaite, a researcher and assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial medicine at the dental school, whose research was recently published by Oral Diseases as part of the World Workshop on Oral Medicine VII.
“Often, these patients see several providers—taking up a lot of health-care resources—before they find out what’s going on.” That’s because many dentists and clinicians aren’t trained well on the topic, she said. The current method for making a diagnosis is ruling out other disorders. If a patient is misdiagnosed with burning mouth syndrome, but actually suffers from burning due to dry mouth, the patient will receive treatment for the wrong condition and the symptoms of burning will not improve.
The specific cause of BMS is uncertain, but some evidence shows that it may be related to nerve dysfunction. Sometimes, chewing gum or eating certain foods lessens pain symptoms. Best estimates are that between .1% and 4% of the population is affected by BMS.
Chmieliauskaite said BMS clinical trials need more rigorous standards. “We need a consensus for a single definition of BMS that includes specific inclusion and exclusion criteria,” she said. “This will help us in moving the field forward in understanding of the actual disease. And there’s still a lot more we need to study,” she said.
Modeled after a successful program at the School of Medicine, a gift from the Mt. Sinai Foundation will launch the nation’s first named and accredited craniofacial fellowship – the Mt. Sinai-Dr. Edward Reiter Fellowship. The School of Dental Medicine has a long-established expertise in caring for craniofacial abnormalities and anomalies, which are present at birth and varied, ranging from mild to severe.
Manish Valiathan, an associate professor at the dental school and the founding program director of the Craniofacial and Special Care Fellowship Program, said the goal is to better train caregivers and improve patient outcomes.
The dental school’s inaugural Reiter Fellow is Rany Bous, who will receive a stipend, tuition and other support, Valiathan said. After earning his dental degree from Cairo University in Egypt in 2011, Bous, “captivated by the social and psychological aspects of creating beautiful smiles and faces,” began his pursuit of an orthodontic residency at Case Western Reserve University.
Two dental students won awards at the National Oral Health Conference (NOHC) in Memphis in April. Each dental school can nominate two students for the Annual Predoctoral Dental Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry each year. The award is sponsored by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. This year, both nominated CWRU students won awards.
Alisha Jimenez-Thompson, a first-year dental and a dual-degree (DMD-MPH) student, won first place, and Jodie Smith, a second-year dental student, received honorable mention. Both students made poster presentations at the conference and both were mentored by Dr. Sena Narendran, associate professor in the Department of Community Dentistry.
Jimenez-Thompson’s presentation was titled “Assimilation of Dental Case Management into Medical Case Management for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).” Smith presented her work titled “Effects of Racial and Socioeconomic Infra-structure on Health Professional Shortage Area Rankings.” Smith also will present her work at the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Vancouver later this summer.
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.
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.