What is Dental Clinical Research?

As defined by the National Institutes of Health, ‘clinical research’ is research centered around human subjects in the domains of health and healthcare.  Clinical research broadly encompasses: definition of factors contributing to human disease; definition of therapeutic approaches; conduct of clinical trials of interventions involving agents, devices, practices or healthcare delivery models; development of new, clinically-applicable technologies; epidemiological definition of disease distribution;   definition of factors impacting health, analysis of health decision-making in a societal context including an emphasis on patient-centered research; and comparative effectiveness research centered around definition of best practices, interventions and healthcare service delivery models.


  • Initiatives that accelerate translational research centered on oral-systemic health promotion into clinical practice or improving capacity for disease management;
  • Research that advances the evidence base surrounding links between oral and systemic health and disease to inform and promote translation into clinical practice;
  • Collaborations with internal as well as external entities to address gaps in knowledge or current clinical practice patterns that represent barriers to promotion of oral and systemic health and integrated clinical disease management, with the aim of promoting delivery of more effective, high-quality, cost-effective healthcare;
  • Research focused on definition of biomarkers to monitor disease emergence, progression or response to treatment.  

Current initiatives:

Integrated Models of Care for Diabetes and Oral Health:

The focus of the initiative is creation, promotion and delivery of integrated dental and medical care delivery models to improve holistic management of the rapidly expanding population of patients with prediabetes and diabetes.  

Secondary analysis of electronic medical/dental record data to:

  • assess prevalence of periodontal disease among patients diagnosed with renal disease receiving care at Marshfield Clinic;
  • conduct longitudinal follow up of outcomes in patients with systemic disease over time framed by oral health status based on existing longitudinal dental data;
  • find the best model(s) to identify existing undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes and to forecast incident disease over a 5-year period among dental patients based on oral/periodontal health information as well as other patient information that is collected in a dental care setting.

Examination of relative prevalence of respiratory conditions in the Marshfield Clinic Health System Service Area in patients with and without periodontal disease.

Neel Shimpi, B.D.S., M.M., Ph.D.
Dental Clinical Research Core Lead
Phone: (715) 221-6430