A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Featured Dental Research

LLU Dentistry Professor Publications Top Ranked

Lead Author on 12 of 100 Most-Cited Dental Surgery Research Articles

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry Professor Mahmoud Torabinejad DDS, MSD, PhD, has been identified as the first author of the top 12 out of the 100 most highly-referenced research publications in dental endodontics. He was also identified as having the highest number of publications characterized as “citation classics” in this field. Research undertaken by him and his collaborators are recognized as having major scientific impact in modern endodontic practice. Current standard procedures used around the world in root canal therapy and the treatment of damage to tooth structures from accidents are the direct results of Dr. Torabinejad’s contribution to dental research.

The identification of the ranking of Dr. Torabinejad’s research articles was recently released in the Journal of Endodontics based on the results of the first comprehensive study of high-impact articles in endodontics. Endodontics is the specialty within dentistry focused on saving natural dentition. The leading professional association in this field in the United States, the American Association of Endodontists, characterizes its members as “professional specialists in saving teeth.”

Based on Dr. Torabinejad’s research publications record, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) enjoys the highest ranking of any dental school in the world in endodontics as measured by the number of most-cited research publications of faculty. Following behind LLU on the sources of high-impact publications are schools of dentistry at a Swedish University, the University of Zurich (Switzerland), the University of North Carolina, the University of Texas Health Science Center, Tufts University, the University of Connecticut Health Center, and the University of Florida.

Dr. Torabinejad’s career began with his graduation at the head of his class with a D.M.D in 1971 from the dental school of the University of Tehran, the most highly ranked of Iran’s five dental schools. In 1974, he earned a certification in oral pathology from the University Of Illinois School of Dentistry. He completed his M.S.D. degree in 1976 at the University of Washington as well as his certification in endodontics. In 1995, Professor Torabinejad received a Ph.D. degree from the School of Dentistry of the University of London.

During the 1976-77 academic term, he served as an Assistant Professor of Endodontics at the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. While at Harvard, he met now semi-retired LLU Professor Leif K. Bakland, DDS, holder of the LLUSD Ronald E. Buell Professorship in Endodontics. This meeting would lead Dr. Torabinejad to choose Loma Linda University from among several American schools of dentistry which were recruiting him for a faculty position. He indicated that he was attracted to Loma Linda University because of the opportunity offered to him to develop “from the ground up” a distinguished research and teaching program in endodontics. Dr. Torabinejad currently serves as the director of the Advanced Specialty Education Program in Endodonics in the LLU School of Dentistry. His newest initiative is the development of a MSD program in postgraduate dentistry focuses on developing a 36-month program that teaches endodontics as well as implant dentistry.

The results of a number of the research studies initiated by Dr. Torabinejad have been developed by him and his collaborators into standard clinical treatments adopted by dentists around the world. He believes that one of the factors involved in his ability to develop these very effective treatments was his training in oral pathology. Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry which deals with the diseases affecting the oral cavity. He also believes in the great value of teamwork with collaborators as a means of forging pathways to success in both dental research and dental practice.

An example of one of his inventions, now widely employed in endodontics is a material known as mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA). Dr. Toraginejad and his collaborators discovered that this material triggers the body’s production of its own tissues. This important characteristic of MTA is the fact that it shortens treatments from many months to a few days in teeth with necrotic pulps and opened root ends. In addition to MTA, he has developed a solution to disinfect root canals in five minutes. This material is a combination of an antibiotic, an acid, and a detergent. He has also recently utilized a technique to revitalize teeth with necrotic pulps.

In addition to his many research articles, Dr. Torabinejad has authored two textbooks. The 4th edition of his most recent book, Endodontics: Principles and Practice, was published in 2009 by Elsevier Health Sciences. Having been translated into seven languages, it is the world’s most widely-used endodontic textbook in dental schools. He, LLUSD Dean Charles Goodacre, DDS, MSD, and their colleagues are currently working on another textbook dealing with tooth implants. His research record includes more than 300 publications and more than 200 presentations made in more than 40 countries. He also served in 2003-2004 as the president of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). He had previously been responsible for the development of a $30 million endowment for the AAE Foundation which currently permits that organization to provide $1.5 million each year in the support of endodontic research and education. His peers throughout the dental research community testify to his eminence as a both a distinguished professional educator and internationally recognized scholar of the first rank.

The passion for excellence which Dr. Torabinejad brings to his research, his mentoring of students, and in his dental practice is evident to anyone who comes into contact with him. The chairman of the LLUSD Department of Endodontics, Robert Handysides DDS characterizes Dr. Torabinejad as “the consummate educator as well as a globally recognized leader in the field of endodontics” adding that “his passion for endodontics is contagious. I am honored to be able to work so closely with him.”