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.

We’ve made progress. Faculty members have secured nearly $5 million in grants to expand promising population-based research. Our clinics serve patients from every county in the state, and our partnerships with community and rural dentists across the state allow students to provide dental care to thousands of West Virginians in need. And we’ve outlined an ambitious agenda to expand student education and patient services while revitalizing the School’s facility.

The Trajectory of Success

The West Virginia University School of Dentistry has a national reputation for producing excellent clinicians, both dentists and dental hygienists. More than half of all West Virginia residents admitted to the School of Dentistry have remained in state after graduation. Approximately 81 percent of the state’s practicing dentists are WVU alumni.

Through our rural partnerships, dental and dental hygiene students have seen more than 17,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 procedures over the past decade. For this service, the School received the first-ever OrnaShanley Prize for Enhancing Access to Care by the American Dental Education and the International Federation of Dental Education Associations.

Engineering and dentistry researchers are collaborating to develop an ultrasound tool to improve early detection of periodontal disease, a common cause of tooth loss in older adults. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $1.2 million grant to build on studies linking gum disease and mild-to-moderate memory loss, as well as a $2.8 million grant to study oral health disparities in northern Appalachia.