OMMDS News Archive


Dr. Andres Pinto Completes Board Certification in Orofacial Pain

Andres Pinto headshot

Dr. Andres Pinto, professor and chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences and assistant dean of Graduate Studies, successfully completed board certification in orofacial pain by the American Board of Orofacial Pain in November 2020. 

With this achievement, Dr. Pinto is certified in two specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. He is also the only dentist in Ohio with training and board certification in orofacial pain and oral medicine. 



Dr. Syed Appointed to Editorial Board

Ali Syed

Dr. Ali Syed, assistant professor and director of the oral and maxillofacial radiology clinic, was invited to be a member of the editorial board for an esteemed journal--“Imaging Sciences in Dentistry”--effective January 1, 2020. Being on the editorial board is an honor and the position is valued as a “gate keeper” of future knowledge in the profession. This honor was conferred in recognition of his extensive past contributions to the journal.


Dr. Syed Presents to the AEGD Program at Fort Benning, GA

Dr. Syed Invited to Present at US Army Base

Dr. Ali Syed, BDS, MHA, MS, assistant professor and director of admitting clinic and radiology clinic, was invited to present at the US Army base in Fort Benning, GA. This is Dr. Syed’s first invitation from the US Army and resulted in new collaborations with the organization. Dr. Syed made a two-day presentation to the AEGD residents, faculty and staff and his topics included “Changing Landscapes: Diagnostic Radiology in Dentistry”, “Hands-on Experience Using Invivo Software”, and "Interpretation of CBCT Scans". In recognition of Dr. Syed's presentation, the Commander in Chief COL Dr. Grant Perrine Honored him with a “Commander’s Coin” -- a way for senior leadership to show their appreciation for a phenomenal job on the spot. More than a thank you or a pat on the back, it is something tangible by which to remember the moment.


ODA Winning Streak Continues

Caitlin Wright, DMD Class of 2019

Caitlin Wright, a senior dental student, was selected for the pre-doctoral award in the dental student research awards category at the 2018 annual Ohio Dental Association (ODA) meeting in Columbus. The award carries a monetary value of $250 and a certificate. The meeting is an excellent opportunity to showcase research work led by pre-doctoral dental student, residents, fellows and dental auxiliaries. Wright's project was titled “Radiographic features of Downs Syndrome: A Case Series” and discussed in depth various common radiographic features noted in Down’s syndrome.

“Presenting my poster at the 2018 ODA Annual Session was a wonderful experience! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting colleagues and speaking with them about my research. It was an honor to present the work I’ve completed with my mentor, Dr. Syed, and to have his support at the event,” said Wright.

This is the fourth year in a row the students mentored under Dr. Syed won the awards at the ODA annual meeting.

OMMDS Faculty Members Featured at Ohio Dental Association Annual Session

Dr. Ivan Stojanov
Ali Syed

Two OMMDS faculty members will be featured at the Ohio Dental Association (ODA) Annual Session's EDTalks! Faculty Luncheon event on Friday, September 14th, 2018. Dr. Ivan Stojanov will discuss the diagnosis and management of leukoplakia and Dr. Ali Syed will focus on technological advancements in imaging, including the use of augmented reality to aid in diagnosis. Download the flyer here.

OMMDS Faculty Member Dr. Chmieliauskaite Achieves Board Certification

Dr. Milda Chmieliauskaite

Dr. Milda Chmieliauskaite, Assistant Professor, achieved Board Certification in the specialty of Oral Medicine in April 2018. She successfully challenged the Board at the American Academy of Oral Medicine annual meeting in San Antonio. The American Board of Oral Medicine is a member of the American Board of Dental Specialties (ABDS), and is the only certifying entity for Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine in the United States. All full-time clinical faculty in the department are now Board-certified in at least one specialty.

For additional information, visit or

Student Research Work Presents at Michigan Dental Association

DMD Student Monica Torres

Third year DMD student Monica Torres presented her research at the Michigan Dental Association’s Annual Session in Lansing, Michigan on April 27, 2018. Ms. Torres presented a poster on her project titled “Radiographic Diagnosis of Osteoma Cutis of the face: Case Series” that was guided under the mentorship of OMMDS faculty member Dr. Ali Syed. “Being able to recognize this condition in a patient of mine while working on this research project was an illuminating moment for me,” said Torres. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be here and share that experience.” Furthermore, Ms. Torres said working with Dr. Syed is a great privilege and honor; they continue to work together on other projects.

OMMDS Faculty Member Dr. Ivan Stojanov Awarded Research Funding

Dr. Ivan Stojanov

Ivan Stojanov, DMD, MMSc, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, has been awarded funding from the H.E.A.R.T.S. Foundation and the Chalmers Lyons Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to investigate the mutational profile of keratocystic odontogenic tumors (odontogenic keratocysts) to see which, if any, genetic alterations may be present and potentially targeted in novel therapeutic approaches. Dr. Stojanov joined the School of Dental Medicine in 2016 after receiving his graduate training at Harvard University.

“This is a significant recognition of Dr. Stojanov’s motivation to understand the mechanisms underlying oral and maxillofacial disease. He has been a valuable addition to our department and continues to make important contributions to our educational and service mission,” stated Dr. Andres Pinto, Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences.

Fellows Showcased at Prosthodontic Conference 

Drs.Savitha Yannam & Kiran Shahid at Carl O Boucher Prosthodontic Conference

Drs. Savitha Yannam and Kiran Shahid, fellows from the AEGD department, presented their research work at the 53rd Annual Carl O Boucher Prosthodontic Conference, held at the Marriott and Residence Inn in Columbus, OH on April 13th, 2018. This event is dedicated to Dr Carl O. Boucher, who relentlessly worked for the betterment of the prosthodontics field.

This program exclusively dealt with complex prosthodontic work highlighting innovative and alternate methods to restoring implants and rehabilitation of children with syndromes such as ectodermal dysplasia.

The fellows presented a poster on their research project titled “Sub-pontic Hyperostosis: Prevalence and frequency in Northeast Ohio population” that was carried out under the mentorship of Dr. Ali Syed, assistant professor in the OMMDS department.

Kiran and Savitha said that it was a very pleasant and unique experience showcasing their research work at this meeting and they thoroughly enjoyed their presentation.

DMD Student Lauren Thai Wins Guenther M. Hans Award ‌‌

Lauren Thai receiving Guenther M.Hans award from Dr. Hans

Lauren Thai, a second year DMD student, was awarded the Guenther M. Hans award for best presentation from the platform at the 38th Annual Professionals Day event. The award carries with it a certificate and a $500 cash award. The topic she presented was a retrospective cross-sectional study looking at the prevalence of crista galli using an advanced imaging cone beam computed tomography. This is the first study to look exclusively at the prevalence of crista galli using cone beam computed tomography in an orthodontic population group. Her research was conducted under the mentorship of OMMDS faculty member Dr. Ali Syed.

CWRU School of Dental Medicine prides itself in its annual Professionals Day event, which serves as a platform to showcase summer research conducted by both predoctoral and graduate students. Students present their research work as an oral presentation, poster presentation, or both, while also attending a lecture from a keynote speaker and having the opportunity to meet with various representatives from companies related to oral health care.

After winning, Lauren said, “I had the great honor of presenting my summer research presentation at Professionals Day. It was my first public speaking event to an audience of faculty, professors and peers. It was nerve-racking and exciting but mostly a great learning experience. I also was able to listen and learn about the other great research topics presented by my peers.” 

She also expressed her gratitude towards her research mentor, Dr. Syed, and said, “Dr. Syed has been so generous of his time, knowledge, and patience. I’m grateful and appreciative of his continued support and guidance, especially in overcoming numerous obstacles faced during my research process... I would also like to thank Dr. Pinto for his encouragement and insightful comments. And finally, my sincere thanks goes to Dr. Demko for allowing me the opportunity to have this experience of doing summer research.”


Dr. Pinto Granted Fellowship in International College of Dentists

ICD District 7 Inductees 2017
Dr. Pinto being inducted into the ICD

Dr. Pinto, Department Chair, was granted Fellowship in the International College of Dentists at its annual meeting on October 19, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Fellowship is granted by invitation, in recognition of exceptional contributions to the profession of dentistry and the local community. Dr. Pinto was one of a select group of 11 oral health professionals honored from District 7, comprising the states of Indiana and Ohio. The fellowship has been awarded to only 6% of US dentists.

Read more about this year's inductees at the ICD website

OMMDS Student Success at 151st Annual ODA Meeting

Case Western Reserve dental students at the 151st ODA meeting

On September 15th, 2017 at the 151st Annual Ohio Dental Association meeting, the students of OMMDS presented multiple posters on a wide variety of topics, such as Assessment of Pain Drawing, Systematic Review on MRONJ, and Medial Atherosclerosis. From left to right in the photo above: Yuanming Xu, Dhiraj Mallela, Dalal AlHajji, Iman Attar, Jaahnavi Kodali, and Sukaynah Al Awami.

Dr. Dalal AlHajji’s topic, “The Efficacy of Therapeutic Approaches Used to Treat MRONJ: A Systematic Review,” was very well received by both the judges and visiting dentists and was awarded first prize under the dental resident category. Department chair Dr. Andres Pinto mentored Dr. AlHajji for the project.

Each year, the Ohio Dental Association organizes its annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. This meeting is a place where there is an amalgamation of statewide general dentists. This meeting offers CE courses and table clinics.

DMD Student Success at 151st Annual ODA Meeting

Case Western Reserve dental student Lauren Thai wins prize at 151st ODA meeting

Second-year dental student Lauren Thai was awarded a prize for a poster presentation at the recently concluded 151st Ohio Dental Association Annual Meeting. This is third year in a row that dental students represented under the mentorship of Dr. Ali Syed, Assistant Professor and Director of Radiology, have won prizes. The poster topic was on the prevalence of Pneumatization of the Crista Galli in the Dental Population.

Lauren expressed her satisfaction and is encouraging other dental students to participate in research, saying, "I would like to especially thank Dr. Ali Syed for the opportunity to be a part of this research. I am extremely lucky to have a mentor who cares about my work and supported me through my first research and presentation experience. Attending the ODA was a very rewarding and humbling experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to share and provide awareness to dentists and specialists about the Pneumatization of the Crista Galli as well as learn from others' experience and expertise.”

Dr. Syed Named Director of Admitting Clinic

Ali Zakir Syed

Effective July 1, 2017, Dr. Ali Syed is the director of the School's Admitting Clinic. His responsibilities include overseeing clinic flow, student rotations, and the implementation of electronic health records for new patient visits. He will be working closely with the department staff and administration to enhance clinic operations and student rotations.

Drs. Milda Chmieliauskaite and Ali Syed Receive Glennan Fellowships

Drs. Chmieliauskaite and Syed

Drs. Chmieliauskaite and Syed were among 5 tenure-track junior faculty across the university to receive 2017 Glennan Fellowships. Dr. Milda will work on innovative approaches to integration of basic and clinical sciences across the dental curriculum. She will design interactive cases that will be adaptive to student input and knowledge level. Dr. Syed will continue his work to develop a digital radiologic module on assessment of caries and periodontal disease.

More information on the fellowships.

New Opioid Prescription Rules in Ohio

Prescription Drugs

Effective August 31, 2017, dentists are among health professionals included in a new ruling limiting prescriptions for opioids in the state of Ohio. The rule will limit prescriptions to 7 days for adults and 5 days for minors for acute pain. The impact of the ruling on the management of chronic head and neck pain was discussed by Dr. Andres Pinto, Chair of OMMDS for Ideastream.

Read the full story on Ideastream.  

North Coast Spring Dental Meeting 

North Coast Spring Dental Meeting May 2017

Members of OMMDS were awarded a distinction for a poster presented at the North Coast Spring Dental Meeting in May. The study, titled "Medial Vascular Calcification in Oral and Maxillofacial Region in Dental Patients" was directed by Dr. Ali Syed, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. Featured in the image (left to right) are Yuanming Xu, senior research assistant, Buthainah Jadallah, Oral Medicine fellow, and Dr. Syed.

The North Coast Spring Meeting was organized for the purpose of coordinating an annual northeast Ohio regional dental conference engaging the Greater Cleveland Dental Society with surrounding dental societies in northeast Ohio. The event features exhibitions of the newest dental equipment and world-class CE Programs, including presentations by several CWRU faculty members.


Student Presents at AAOMR Meeting

Stephanie Weng presenting at the annual AAOMR meeting

Stephanie Weng, a third year dental student, presented a poster titled “Detection of Monckeberg Medial Arteriosclerosis on Conventional Dental Imaging” at the 67th annual meeting of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR), held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The poster presentation is about the unique presentation of calcification (Monckeberg Medial Calcification) in the facial vasculature. This type of calcification is noted in diabetic patients and chronic kidney failure patients. To date, few studies have reported on this type of calcification in the head and neck region. As dentists, we should recognize these abnormalities and appropriately refer them to physicians.

Stephanie said after her presentation that she “would like to thank Dr. Syed for this amazing opportunity. This is my first time presenting a poster and the experience at the AAOMR annual session was very rewarding. The lectures offered at the conference really opened up your eyes to different fields of dentistry, exchanging ideas, and establishing guidelines among different specialties; things that you wouldn’t be learning in dental school. Many innovative ideas and revolutionary findings were also presented during poster sessions. This is a unique experience that I would highly recommend dental students to participate in when opportunities come around."

Student Wins Prestigious ODA Award 

Funmi Abosede wins award at the 150th ODA

Funmi Abosede, a predoctoral dental student in the class of 2017, won an award in the predoctoral category of the ODA awards, held at the 150th annual conference in Columbus, OH. The project highlights the importance of the usage of innovative technology to enhance understanding of impacted teeth and their important relationship with the inferior alveolar canal. The project is based on the Aurasma app that helps to enhance to education for both students and patients alike.

Funmi was so delighted after getting an award, saying, "I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the table clinic at the ODA. This was my first research poster presentation and it was an exciting experience to present along with my peers from other disciplines."

This project was mentored by Dr. Ali Syed, assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. This is the second consecutive year that the Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences presented a poster and won an award.

Research Update from SOURCE

Marija Rowane presents her poster at SOURCE

Marija Rowane, a pre-health student researcher from the Department of Biology, presented 'Florid osseous dysplasia: a pictorial review' and 'Oro-antral communication incidence in oral & maxillofacial imaging: a cone-beam computed tomography study' at the summer 2016 Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE) Intersections Undergraduate Poster Session on Thursday, August 4th. Marija researched under the mentorship of Ali Z. Syed, BDS, MHA, MS in oral maxillofacial radiology.


Students Present at AAOMR

Raquel Rios and Laurel Cook at the 66th AAOMR

Raquel Rios and Laurel Cook, third year dental students, made poster presentations at the American Academy

of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR)'s 66thannual meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana at the end of September. The poster presentations were titled, “A Review of Unusually Large Mastoid Foramen as Noted on CBCT” and, “Thyroid Papillary Microcarcinoma: An Incidental Finding in a Patient with Coronoid Hyperplasia”.

Raquel and Laurel said that it was an honor to attend the AAOMR conference this year. It was their first time presenting their scholarly work at a national conference and they learned so much throughout the process. They also learned a lot about Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology--a specialty within dentistry that is relatively new, but growing rapidly. As dental students, they often focus on treatment and procedures, but this experience provided an important reminder that diagnosis of disease is the cornerstone of dentistry and fortunately, there is a wealth of resources available to us to provide optimal diagnostic services.

Dr. Ali Z. Syed, Assistant Professor and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, has mentored these projects. In addition to mentoring, he presented several posters and also made an oral presentation titled, “Instruction Methods and Technology in Radiology Teaching & Engaging the Millennial Classroom” at the annual meeting. Dr. Syed said he is delighted to see students presenting their scholarly work at national conferences.

DMD Student Cleo Sin Wins ODA Award 

Cleo Sin wins at annual ODA meeting.

Second year dental student Cleo Sin presented her summer research project at the recently concluded Ohio Dental Association (ODA) meeting in Columbus. The summer research project was funded by the Interprofessional Scholars Collaboration in Teaching and Learning (iSCTL) grant. This funding provided a platform for collaborative scholarly work between faculty and students with different backgrounds (medical, dental, and nursing). Ms. Sin's project, “Web Based Interactive Radiographic Anatomy”, won the Best Show award among several presentations.

“I had not presented research at a conference before, so aside from being new to the environment, it was exciting and more fun than expected; though I was standing for a couple of hours talking about the same topic, it did not feel monotonous and time went by really fast. Every conversation after the presentation was different and it was enjoyable,” said Ms. Sin.

Her mentor on the project was Dr. Ali Z. Syed, Assistant Professor and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences.

Dr. Syed Awarded Multiple Fellowships

Dr. Syed at his desk

Department, has received multiple research and learning fellowships for this academic year: a learning fellowship, an inter-scholar teaching (iSCTL) fellowship, and an active learning fellowship.

The learning fellowship is offered to faculty interested in enhancing their teaching experience. Sessions help faculty interact with each other across the University. These fellowships are offered through the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE) as part of a University effort to enhance teaching methods and make better educators.

The Interprofessional Scholars Collaboration in Teaching and Learning Program (iSCTL) is a competitive program that helps to foster collaboration among dental, nursing, and medical educators and students. It focuses on multiple aspects of abstract presentation, poster preparation, and educational scholarship. It also offers resources that streamline research projects by turning educational ideas into scholarly activity.

The Active Learning Fellowship (ALF) is held in partnership with Information Technology Services (ITS), the Office of the Provost, and UCITE. It enables faculty to modify and enhance active learning methods in their courses.

Dr. Syed is honored and excited to receive these fellowships. With the knowledge and experience he gains through them, he hopes to enhance and promote teaching. It is a wonderful opportunity and he strongly encourages other faculty to take advantage of the wonderful resources that are available on the CWRU campus. He would like to thank Dr. Andres Pinto, chair of the OMMDS Department, for encouraging and promoting faculty development activities like these.

Dr. Pinto Receives National Dental Association Foundation Award

Dr. Andres Pinto

Dr. 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.


Dr. Ali Syed Earns Diplomate Status from American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (ABOMR)

Dr. Ali Syed black &white

Dr. Syed, an assistant professor in the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences,

recently achieved Diplomate status from American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (ABOMR). The title Diplomate is the academic hallmark of professionalism and commitment to the highest standards of patient care in the specialty of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. Dr. Syed will be officially recognized as a Diplomate during the American Academy of Oral Radiology’s annual meeting to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana in September of 2015. The ABOMR is the only certifying board for the specialty of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and is one of the nine specialty boards recognized by the American Dental Association.


Dr. Pinto Achieves Diplomatic Status from European Association of Oral Medicine (EAOM) 

Dr. Andres Pinto

During the Association meeting in Antalya, Turkey, in September, the EAOM granted Diplomate status to Dr.

Andres Pinto, Chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences (OMMDS) Department. The EAOM represents the largest Oral Medicine professional group in the world. Founded in 1998, it groups members from more than 30 countries and actively engages in promoting the practice and science of Oral Medicine.

New Chair Researches Difficult-to-Diagnose Syndrome

Dr. Pinto next to a computer with a dental x-ray on the screen

Oral pain that feels like a scalded mouth and can last for months has baffled dental researchers since the 1970s, when burning oral sensations were linked to mucosal, periodontal and restorative disorders, and mental or emotional causes. It’s called burning mouth syndrome (BMS), and it’s gaining the attention of such dental researchers as oral pain expert Andres Pinto, chair of the Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Services. What’s frustrates patients and doctors alike, said Pinto, is that the mouth and gums appear normal, so diagnosis is difficult. Although the exact cause of BMS is unknown, the suspected origin is deterioration of the nerves beneath the oral lining. The deterioration isn’t visible, which explains why the mouth appears normal when examined and can delay diagnosis. Patients can receive relief with special mouthwashes, analgesics and other topical and systemic treatments. Pinto’s research has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, and he has participated in pain research and education initiatives funded by the National Institutes of Health. More information on Pinto's research

Collaborative Home for Oral Health, Medical Review, and Health Promotion (CHOMP) Project Receives Media Attention

Dr. Jean Iannadrea on News Channel 8

The CHOMP project, headed by Carol Savrin (Nursing), Kristin Victoroff and Jean Iannadrea (Dental Medicine), and several faculty members from both schools, has been the recipient of local media interest. This innovative program places students from nursing and dental medicine in a combined learning environment that fosters mutual learning. CHOMP is supported by a $750,000 Health Resources and Service Administration grant to the nursing school. Launched last February, student dentist-nurse teams have been working together in the admitting and pediatric dental clinics two days a week. Patients receive oral exams and health screenings for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, red and white blood cell counts, and, if desired, HIV. Nurse practitioner students may treat and prescribe medications for patients with issues as flu, strep throat and other non-chronic illnesses, and administer immunizations for flu, tetanus and pneumonia. Patients who need follow-up medical care are referred to local health providers.