Sameer Jain
Sameer D. Jain, B.D.S., M.S., M.S.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Endodontics
Assistant Professor
Director, Urgent Care Clinic

Research in any dental field drives innovation and technology to ultimately improve patient care. Science is the specialty’s best advocate for the value of saving teeth. At the VCU Department of Endodontics, we strive towards new discoveries through research with hopes to strengthen the evidence basis for the success of root canal treatments.

The increased diagnostic information provided with the advent of CBCT has been proven to provide more accurate diagnosis and improved decision making for the management of complex endodontic problems. However, while tackling complex cases such as access opening in a calcified root or surgical root-end resection or retreatment through an extensive coronal restoration (crowns, amalgam, fiber-post, etc.), the treatment ultimately lies at the discretion of the operator’s skill and experience with freehand dentistry.

Novel dynamic navigation technology with real-time CT guidance has the potential to achieve minimally invasive access cavities in locating highly difficult calcified canals. Newer upgrades in dynamic navigation technology facilitate clinical feasibility in non-surgical and surgical drilling to mitigate iatrogenic errors. With improved artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology and a trend towards big data collection and advanced information processing, 3D guided navigation promises to unlock new synergies and can be an effective treatment tool providing endodontists with the right information in real time.

3D navigation technology research.

The VCU School of Dentistry’s Dental Research Grant has been instrumental in providing wings to develop our new research initiative. It has nurtured academic collaboration among our dental faculty, residents and students. This grant has transformed our simple idea to high quality research that with potential to advance into an independent research program. Our research paper published in the Journal of Endodontics (JOE), titled “3-Dimensional Accuracy of Dynamic Navigation Technology in Locating Calcified Canals” was the first research study exploring the potential of applying dynamic 3D navigation technology in endodontics. Following up on its success, we have two more research initiatives in the pipeline due to be published in the JOE. The long-term goal is to continue flourishing the country’s first academic center dedicated to dynamic guided endodontic research and clinical procedures. Our pursuit remains to conduct meaningful research to positively impact the long-term treatment outcomes. This incentive will truly enable us to make the next breakthrough and stay at the forefront of this “Digital Dental Renaissance.” 

International and national lecturing

I had the pleasure to present our pioneering work in the field of Dynamic Navigation to multiple residency programs (VCU, University of Minnesota, Boston University, University of Texas Houston, and University of Missouri Kansas City) across the nation. I look forward to interact and share our first-hand experience with this technology at the International Federation of Endodontic Associations 12th World Endodontic Congress and the American Association of Endodontists 2021 Annual Meeting in April 2021.

Pre-doc clinic updates 

Bouncing back from COVID-19

Despite the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, it is our responsibility to ensure the public that the students we graduate are competent entry-level dentists and have abided by the requirements laid out by CODA and the university. Through exhaustive planning and collaborative teamwork from the pre-doctoral faculty (Drs. Clara Spatafore, Linda Baughan and James Heffernan), we were able to model an alternative clinical curriculum during the COVID break to allow for an expedited yet fair completion of the coursework. The pre-doctoral class of 2020 was able to finish their clinical endodontic requirements and successfully challenge the licensure clinical boards.

Our goal for FY 2021 is to develop a robust and consistent endodontic curriculum that provides pre-doctoral students with a firmer foundation in the specialty. We are constantly striving to update the interim guidance, which recommends measures to help protect patients, staff and dental students from COVID-19. Our pre-doctoral endodontic clinic re-engaged in providing the full range of endodontic therapies.


Our part-time pre-doctoral endodontic faculty, Linda Baughan, D.D.S. (M.Ed. ‘78/E; D.D.S. ‘83/D; cert ‘93/HP; HS ‘00), is retiring this year. She has taught by example and has encouraged her students to perform with excellence at all times. From spending time with a student on an endodontic diagnosis case, to a referral, or watching over a student’s shoulder the first time they treat a patient, she was always soft spoken and never hesitated to help other colleagues. On behalf of the department, we wish her congratulations and the enjoyment of travel and family in her retirement.

Categories Endodontics