Dental Research

As an integral part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, the West Virginia University School of Dentistry Department of Dental Research is investing significant resources to advance new clinical, basic and translational research capabilities to augment the teaching mission based on the School of Dentistry's five-year strategic plan.

As West Virginia’s only dental school, we embrace the special responsibility to improve the oral health of the citizens of our state through a dynamic, evidence-based, and inter-professional approach to wellness. It’s a big task: West Virginia leads the nation in childhood cavities, adult tooth loss, and gum disease.

We’re taking steps to address the oral health problems by focusing on excellence in education, patient care, research, services, and cutting edge technology. Our vision is to transform lives and eliminate health disparities for West Virginians starting with excellence in oral health.

Center for Oral Health Disparities in Appalachia (COHRA)

Researchers in the School of Dentistry are trying to understand why children in West Virginia have a higher rate of cavities than children in the rest of the country. The best way for us to understand why cavities form is to provide dental check-ups to moms and their babies, starting from the time of pregnancy and following up with them until their baby has all of his/her teeth.

In 2003, West Virginia University (WVU) began collecting information for a groundbreaking-study called "Genetic Factors Contributing to Oral Health Disparities in Appalachia." This collaborative effort between WVU and the University of Pittsburgh resulted in the formation of the Center for Oral Health Disparities in Appalachia (COHRA).

Learn More


Oral Health Initiative

The West Virginia University Oral Health Initiative was established to improve health and change smiles of West Virginians through the mission–based leadership of the School of Dentistry with programming in the areas of education, patient care, community service, workforce preparation and distribution, and innovation in research and technology.  A Grant from the Benedum Foundation provided initial support for the inception of this focused oral health initiative.

Learn More