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School of Dental Medicine

Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences (OMMDS)

Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences (OMMDS)

Welcome to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. We are a comprehensive unit encompassing all diagnostic disciplines of Dental Medicine. Our faculty direct several courses in our undergraduate and graduate curriculum that highlight the importance of a strong foundational knowledge of basic sciences to the practice of Dental Medicine. Our full-time members are board certified in their respective disciplines and offer comprehensive exposure to our students to routine patient screening and evaluation as well as diagnostic work-up of challenging cases. Our clinical services cover the School of Dental Medicine, the University Hospitals system (in collaboration with the Departments of Oral Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, and the AEGD program) and local practicing dentists and physicians.

Mission: To provide education for the competent management of disorders of the oral and maxillofacial region to dental students and graduate dental practitioners. We also provide excellent interdisciplinary care to patients in search of relief of head and neck pain, oral mucosal complications, osseous disease, sleep breathing disorders, salivary complications, and effects of cancer treatment.

Vision: We will be a world-class center in oral and maxillofacial medicine, radiology, and pathology.  We will accomplish this through innovative education, research, and patient-centered care.

Interprofessional education and practice lie in the core of this mission, and we actively participate in several joint projects with the Schools of Nursing and Medicine. Our research involves orofacial pain, oral premalignant disorders, pediatric oral medicine, and interprofesional education outcomes. I appreciate your interest in our department and invite you to explore the additional pages that contain relevant information about who we are.


DMD Student Laura Thai Wins Guenther M. Hans Award

Dr. Mark Hans and DMD Student Lauren Thai‌‌Lauren 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


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

OMMDS Students at the ODA

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. For more information about this meeting, please visit:



DMD Student Success at 151st Annual ODA Meeting

Dr. Syed and Lauren ThaiSecond-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

Dr. Ali SyedEffective 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 SyedDrs. 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 adaptative 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 is available at:

Andres Pinto, PhD 

Dr. Andres Pinto, Chair

Dr. Pinto is Chairman and Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. He is also an attending physician in the Department of Surgery, Divisions of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Pediatric Dentistry at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and a consultant in the VA system. He received his DMD, MPH, certificate in Clinical Research, and certificate in Oral Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine and School of Medicine, a certificate in Dental Public Health from the National Institutes of Health, and an MBA in healthcare administration from the Weatherhead School of Management. Dr. Pinto is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine and holds an FDS from the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh). His clinical interests are the management of orofacial pain, oral mucosal disease, dental sleep medicine, oral oncology, pediatric oral medicine, and temporomandibular disorders. He has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, DHHS, and is a co-investigator in several NIH and industry funded trials.