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UW School of Dentistry

Students’ studies showcased during Research Day

Apichai Yavirach, a student in the School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral Health Sciences, and Courtney Lang, a second-year dental student, won top recognition for their poster presentations at the School of Dentistry’s annual Research Day on Tuesday.

Apichai Yavirach
Apichai Yavirach

Yavirach earned top honors among graduate students for his study titled “Engineered osteoclasts resorb  necrotic bone in MRONJ mouse model.” Lang won the predoctoral competition for her study titled “Preventive dental care use for children with special needs.” She will represent the School of Dentistry at next year’s American Association for Dental Research annual student research competition.

Courtney Lang with Dr. Albert Chung of the School of Dentistry faculty
Courtney Lang with Dr. Albert Chung of the School of Dentistry faculty

The predoctoral runners-up were Fang Sun, whose study was titled “Inhibition of oral biofilm formation by zwitterionic nonfouling coating,” and Sophia Cohanim, whose study was titled “Management of dental emergencies in a hospital emergency department.” The presentations were displayed in the main lobby of the UW Health Sciences building.

Dr. Peter Milgrom, professor emeritus of the Department of Oral Health Sciences, started the day with a keynote talk at the Husky Union Building, titled “Evolution of the standard of dental care: research lab to market.”

Dr. Peter Milgrom
Dr. Peter Milgrom

He focused primarily on non-surgical treatments for dental disease such as fluoride varnish and silver diamine fluoride, especially the latter. “We’ve largely treated caries (tooth decay) as a surgical disease, despite what we’ve known since the 1960s,” he told listeners.

Fluoride varnish, introduced in Washington in 1995, has become a popular anti-decay treatment for children. However, as he noted, silver diamine fluoride – which is also applied directly to tooth surfaces – has rapidly gained currency since its introduction in 2015. Dr. Milgrom called it “the most rapid change [in the standard of care] in the history of dentistry.”

New research indicates that the silver is incorporated into the tooth’s dentin, the hard tissue under the enamel, where it strengthens the layer, he said. The treatment, he said, also remineralizes deep lesions in the tooth without inflaming the pulp.

Other faculty giving talks were:

  • Christy McKinney of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, who spoke on “A global perspective on conducting clinical research to inform practice.”
  • Carrie Heike of the Seattle Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics, who spoke on “Integrating caregiver observations into research and health care in infants with clefts of the lip and palate.”
  • Joana Cunha-Cruz of the Department of Oral Health Sciences, who spoke on “Practice-based research for evidence-based practice.”