Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

Information on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on patient care and School/University operations. Plus, resources for the Penn Dental Medicine community and alumni.

Menu Toggle

Research Projects

Studies Open for Enrollment

The ARMOR Trial

The ARMOR Trial: Commensal Oral Microbiota as a Trigger of Oral Mucositis Severity
Principal Investigator(s): Patricia Corby, DDS, MS and Alexander Lin, MD
Study Status: Currently enrolling
This Study is Grant Funded by: National Institutes of Health — National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

The ARMOR Trial is a randomized, controlled trial of a targeted oral care intervention in patients undergoing radiation or chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. The purpose of the study is to test whether this oral care procedure will delay the onset and reduce the severity, duration, and pain of oral mucositis, a debilitating side effect of radiation therapy. Eligible participants will be asked to attend one visit prior to beginning radiation therapy, weekly visits during radiation therapy, and one visit 3 months after completion of radiation therapy. In total, participants will attend approximately 11 visits over the course of approximately 5.5 months.

You may be eligible to participate if you are aged 18 years or older, are scheduled to undergo radiation or chemoradiation for head and neck cancer, have at least 6 natural teeth, and do not require antibiotic pre-medication prior to dental treatment.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the study team at (917) 586-9089, PDM-ARMORTrial@dental.upenn.edu.

ARMOR Newsletter

The OHART Study

The OHART Study: An observational study for patients living with HIV who have been on antiretroviral therapy for at least one year.
Principal Investigator: Temitope Omolehinwa, BDS, DScD
Study Status: Currently enrolling
This Study is Grant Funded by: National Institutes of Health — National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

The OHART study is a collaborative effort between dental and medical experts, and is aimed towards improving outcomes for people living with HIV. This prospective study will identify oral-systemic non-AIDS-associated comorbid diseases (non-infectious diseases) in a large population of HIV individuals. The goal is to determine key oral health manifestations associated with development and severity of these diseases. A better understanding of the interplay between oral and systemic inflammation in people living with HIV can inform clinicians about novel preventive treatments aimed at reducing inflammation among people living with HIV.

For more information, and to see if you may be eligible, please contact the study team at (215)-908-5667, PDM-OHART@dental.upenn.edu

Pediatric Toothpaste Study

Pediatric Toothpaste Study: A Phase 2 randomized, double-blind, active-controlled multi-center clinical trial to assess the safety and the anti-caries efficacy of COL 101 (arginine) non-fluoride dentifrices with 1.5%, 4.0% and 8.0% arginine each in comparison with 0.24% sodium fluoride (1100 ppm F) dentifrice control in 10 to 14-year-old children.
Principal Investigator: David Hershkowitz, DDS, AAS
Study Status: Currently enrolling
This Study Sponsored by: Colgate-Palmolive

The purpose of this research study is to test how effective a new toothpaste is in reducing tooth cavities. This new toothpaste contains arginine, an essential amino acid that is naturally found in saliva and produced by the human body. In this study, we will compare regular fluoride toothpastes that you could buy in a store to this new toothpaste which contains arginine.

Your child may be eligible for this study if they are aged 10-14 years, are in good general health, and have a history of dental cavities. Eligible participants will be asked to attend study visits once every 3 months for a year (5 visits in total) to have a dental exam and complete questionnaires. Participants will be given study toothpaste and a toothbrush to use throughout their participation in the study.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the study team at PDMToothpasteStudy@dental.upenn.edu.

FIRE Trial

FIRE Trial: Wellbeing in the Burning Mouth Patient Population
Principal Investigator: Eugene Ko, DDS
Study Status: Currently enrolling

The FIRE Trial is a collaboration between the School of Dental Medicine and Wharton School of Business which aims to track pain symptoms in real-time over a 12-week period with a smartphone app called Track Your Happiness. By tracking in real-time, pain symptoms are recorded closer to occurrence, which reduces reliance on patient memory, and may help to better characterize pain symptoms.

Participants will be aged 18 years or older, have had a diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome for at least 6 months, and have continuous access to an iPhone. Eligible participants will be asked to attend two study visits (with the option for a virtual second visit), 12 weeks apart. During the study visits, participants will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires relating to pain, sleep, and mental health. Participants will also be asked to download the Track Your Happiness app and respond to prompts from the app for the 12-week duration of the project. Eligible participants would be compensated up to a $100 for completion of the 12-week study period.

For more information, or to see if you might qualify to participate, please contact the Center for Clinical and Translation Research at (215) 745-2751.

Anti-inflammatory Action in Dental Implant Surgery Patients

Demonstration of OTC Naproxen Sodium’s (Aleve’s) Anti-inflammatory Action in Dental Implant Surgery Patients
Principal Investigators: Elliot Hersh, DMD, MS, PhD and Katherine Theken, PhD
Study Status: Currently enrolling
Study Funded by: Bayer

This double-blind pilot study will evaluate the anti-inflammatory and pain management effects of an over-the-counter (OTC) regimen of naproxen sodium (Aleve) versus acetaminophen in patients receiving dental implants. It will also confirm that naproxen sodium in the OTC dosage range is a good alternative to immediate-release opioid formulations, which are subject to misuse, abuse, and diversion in this patient population. Eligible individuals will be aged 18-75, non-smokers with a negative urine drug screen who are scheduled to have surgical placement of one or two adjacent dental implants. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen after dental implant placement. Biospecimens will be collected before and after surgery, and participants will be asked to complete pain assessment questionnaires. Participants will attend three visits in total: Visit 1 will take place on the day of implant surgery, Visit 2 will take place 24 hours after surgery, and Visit 3 will take place 72 hours after surgery.

For more information, or to see if you might qualify, please contact Stacey Secreto at 215-746-8871 (office) or 484-354-4442 (mobile).

Analgesic Response to Ibuprofen Following Third-molar Extraction

Towards Predicting the Analgesic Response to Ibuprofen Following Third-molar Extraction
Principal Investigators: Tilo Grosser, MD; Katherine Theken, PharmD, PhD; Elliot Hersh, DMD, MS, PhD; and John Farrar, MD, PhD
Study Status: Currently enrolling

This research study will evaluate inter-individual variability in the analgesic response to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen after third molar extraction surgery. It will also investigate demographic, clinical, genetic, and environmental factors that cause this variability. Eligible participants will be men or women in need of extraction of at least one impacted mandibular third molar, generally healthy, and without allergy or sensitivity to any of the study drugs. Participants will be randomized to receive either ibuprofen or placebo following third molar extraction and be asked to complete pain questionnaires and provide biological specimens. Participants will then be provided with ibuprofen and acetaminophen to be taken at home for pain control for up to 7 days after tooth extraction.

For more information, or to see if you might qualify, please contact Stacey Secreto at 215-746-8871 (office) or 484-354-4442 (mobile).

Role of the Dentist in Vaccination for COVID-19 and Human Papillomavrirus

A Study on the Role of the Dentist in Vaccination for COVID-19 and Human Papillomavrirus (HPV)
Principal  Investigator: Katherine France, DMD, MBE
Study Status: Currently enrolling

This study aims to determine patient attitudes around the role of the dentist in vaccinations for both COVID-19 and human papilloma virus (HPV). Patients between the ages of 18 and 45 attending appointments at Penn Dental Medicine will be invited to complete a brief online survey about their awareness of both vaccines, their current vaccination status against both diseases, and their attitudes and willingness around having a dentist provide each vaccine. The study consists of a questionnaire that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Participants who complete the survey have an opportunity to enter into a raffle to win one of twenty $100 gift cards. The survey is completed in a single sitting and requires no follow up. By comparing attitudes and awareness of patients concerning the vaccines for COVID-19 and HPV, we aim to further understand the ways that dentists can play an important role in public health including through vaccination campaigns and understand patients’ awareness and willingness to be vaccinated by dental professionals against two widespread conditions.

Periodontal Disease and Bariatric Surgery

Periodontal Disease and Bariatric Surgery
Principal Investigator: Dana T. Graves, DDS, DMSc
Study Status: Currently enrolling

We are carrying out a study with patients who are undergoing bariatric surgery to see how diabetes and obesity affect bacteria in the mouth. This is important since oral bacteria can cause diseases of the gum and teeth and can even affect overall health. The study will examine how bariatric surgery changes bacteria in a way that may be beneficial. Individuals in the Bariatric Surgery Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are eligible. Participants will be asked to attend two visits at Penn Dental Medicine prior to their scheduled weight-reduction surgery and three visits after surgery over the course of approximately 1 year. The visits include a brief examination of the teeth and gums, a dietary questionnaire and collection of bacteria. After some visits a small amount of blood will be drawn.

Participants will be men and women, 25-65 years old, with a BMI of ≥35 kg/m2who are scheduled to undergo gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy surgery and do not require antibiotic pre-medication prior to dental treatment. Eligible participants include those with or without type 2 diabetes. There is a reimbursement of $75 for each visit to Penn Dental Medicine where the study is carried out. If you complete all 5 study visits, you will receive a total of $375.

If you have any questions about the study or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the study team at 215-888-4045.

Studies Completed

Video-Based Health Education on Oral and Systemic Health Connections

Evaluation of a Video-Based Health Education on Oral and Systemic Health Connections – A Pilot Cross-Sectional Study
Principal Investigator: Sunday Akintoye, BDS, DDS, MS
Study Status: Completed

It is well-known that chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes are major contributors to morbidity and mortality in the United States. However, many adults do not complete regular screening for these conditions. Prior studies have shown that oral and dental healthcare providers, medical professionals, and patients are open to medical screening in a dental setting; therefore, dental chairside screening of patients for select medical conditions opens up an additional point of entry into the healthcare system for at-risk patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of providing a short educational video on the oral-systemic health connection to patients in the dental clinic. The investigators hope that by providing health education in an accessible, easy to understand format, patients will be more likely to request health screenings from their dental providers as well as more likely to follow-up with a healthcare provider if a disease is identified.

Oral Health in the College and University Student Populations

A Study of Oral Health in the College and University Student Populations
Principal Investigator: Beverly Crawford, DDS
Study Status: Completed

This study aims to evaluate the oral health of students on a college or university campus and explore the existence of possibly undiagnosed caries in the student population at the University of Pennsylvania. Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania will be invited to complete an online survey consisting of questions relating to their oral health, dental care and insurance coverage, nutrition, and demographic information.

By assessing the oral health needs of the student population, we will be able to formulate targeted treatment plans for the groups of students identified as being at risk for rampant caries, as well as generate preventive measures to help these students arrest and prevent recurrent caries. Ultimately, we will collect important information that will guide the development of future oral care preventive measures.

Interested in attending Penn Dental Medicine? Admissions