WVU dental school students present abstracts at national oral medicine event

Two West Virginia University School of Dentistry students, along with their mentor, had the opportunity to share abstracts with oral medicine specialists from all over the country.

Bobby Gilbert and Brent Smith II, both doctor of dental surgery candidates, attended the annual 2023 American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM) held in May. The theme for the 77th annual conference was Oral Medicine: Pathways to Precision Practice.

Bobby Gilbert poses at oral medicine conference.

“Having the opportunity to attend and present at the conference was extremely beneficial to me. I plan on pursuing a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, where extensive knowledge of diagnosing and treating lesions of the oral cavity is mandatory. Getting involved in the Oral Medicine community will allow me to continue learning and serving,” Bobby Gilbert, a dental student in the class of 2024, said.

It is refreshing to be involved with the AAOM and Dr. Bugueno who supports my education now and advancement beyond dental school,” Brent Smith II, a dental student in the class of 2023, said.

Oral medicine, defined by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), “is primarily a non-surgical specialty with procedures limited to diagnostic biopsies, small excisions, therapeutic injections and other minor surgical interventions.”

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) reportedly recognizes just six oral medicine advanced education programs in North America.

West Virginia’s only dental school, in association with its WVU Dental patient care clinics, welcomed the program’s first oral medicine expert, provider and faculty member in 2019. Dr. Juan Bugueno focuses on treatment within the specialties of oral mucosal disorders, chronic head and facial pain, salivary pathology and oral manifestations of systemic diseases.

While WVU does not currently offer a degree or certificate in oral medicine, Bugueno is engaging predoctoral students in what is sometimes referred to as the specialty between medicine and dentistry.

“In three short years, we’ve assisted patients who have been seen by multiple providers for conditions such as oral manifestations of autoimmune diseases (ulcers, chronic inflammation), persistent bacterial, viral/fungal infections, and orofacial pain not caused by dental problems,” Dr. Juan Bugueno, assistant professor of oral medicine, said. “It’s important to be able to offer oral medicine treatment to our community as well as introduce our students to a specialty we think will make them even more efficient providers who understand the interaction between systemic conditions and the orofacial region as well as the collaboration between medicine and dentistry.”

Gilbert presented Secondary Lymphoma of Bone Misinterpreted as Painful Dental Infection, Delaying Diagnosis Robert Gilbert, BA; Jerry E. Bouquot, DDS, MSD; Cara Randall, MD; Jeffson Chung, MD; Erin Butcho. MD; Juan M. Bugueno, DDS, MS, ABOM, at this year’s AAOM conference.


Brent Smith poses with Dr. Juan Bugueno. Smith presented Multipotential 3-In-1 Reactive Mass, Combining Peripheral Giant Cell Granuloma, Peripheral Ossifying Fibroma and Pyogenic Granuloma Brent A. Smith II, BS; Jerry E. Bouquot, DDS; Hiba Qari, BDS, MSc; Juan M. Bugueno, DDS, MS, ABOM.

“Presenting my abstract was important for the field of Oral Medicine as it highlights the need of accurate and timely diagnosis of oral lesions. Without proper diagnosis we cannot offer the patient appropriate treatment, and when malignancies may be involved, misdiagnosis or slow diagnosis could result in severe complications,” Gilbert said.

“An abstract is a new window into a less explored area of concern or interest. My abstract documents a relatively unique phenomenon which requires expert-level histopathological knowledge to articulate. My co-authors were paramount in ensuring I was at the expert-level to present. Our abstract was very well received at the AAOM annual conference,” Smith said.

The first WVU dental school students to attend an AAOM conference were alumni Madison Smith and Blake Bachner. They presented in 2022.