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Department of Oral Health Sciences

Research profile

The Oral Health Research Unit conducts research that generates and applies biomedical knowledge and technology to oral health and disease and promotes translation of this acquired expertise to oral health care.


Welcome to the Department of Oral Health Sciences


The vision of the Department of Oral Health Sciences is to promote health and well-being by advancing knowledge on the aetiology and determinants of orofacial diseases and disorders, the prevention of these conditions, and the possibilities for restoring oral health. This includes the translation of gained knowledge and expertise into education and clinical practice, which considers the broader community perspective.

The mission of the Department is to implement this vision by conducting forefront research covering the wide scope of oral health sciences, serving as a basis for excellence in education, clinical practice and policy development.


Periodontology and Oral Microbiology

The Periodontology and Oral Microbiology research unit focuses on different aspects of periodontal health, disease, therapy and rehabilitation. It encompasses breath research, oral microbiology, adjunctive surgical and non-surgical treatments for periodontal and peri-implant diseases, periodontal and bone regeneration, oral anatomy and implant research.

Major research lines include:

  • Identification of biomarkers in exhaled air for oral systemic diseases
  • Halitosis and treatment of halitosis
  • Identification and interaction with the oral microbial ecology
  • Identification of treatments for periodontitis and peri-implantitis
  • Use of L-PRF and various biomaterials in implant bone regeneration and periodontal regeneration
  • Identification of anatomical landmarks and correlations and various aspects of implant treatments

For more: Research group Periodontology and Oral Microbiology


Forensic odontology

Dental age estimation, especially in unaccompanied minors, is a major topic of research. Furthermore, research on the identification of individuals focuses on dentition uniqueness , digital bite mark analysis, improving the process of dental identification through the development of (semi-)automatic virtual dental autopsy techniques, and automated craniofacial reconstruction methodologies. Child abuse and neglect is a topic gaining importance.

For more: forensic odontology



Research at the KU Leuven Orthodontic unit is focused on aspects of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics both in growing and non-growing populations. Growth, development and morphology are evaluated in three dimensions whenever applicable. Well-established topics include:

  • Cleft lip and palate clinical trials
  • Diagnosis of impacted canines and associated incisor root resorption
  • The influence of orthodontic treatment on self-esteem and oral health related quality of life
  • Myofunction
  • Autotransplantation of teeth
  • Friction in orthodontics
  • Estimating orthodontic treatment difficulty
  • Acceleration of tooth movement.

In addition, a range of various orthodontic topics are subject to research such as the concept of retention and orthodontic material evaluation. 

For more: orthodontics


Sensori-motor interaction

Since many years, this research line is building expertise in investigating reflexes in the masticatory system resulting from external stimuli. The interaction between sensory input and motor response adds to the understanding of trigeminal neurophysiology and has potential implications for screening, (differential) diagnosis and follow-up of patients with orofacial pain. Over the last decade, extra attention is given to quantitative sensory testing (QST). Mechanical, thermal and electrical stimuli in particular, are used to map sensory and pain thresholds. More extensive QST-studies are planned in the near future.

For more: oral physiology


Dental biomaterials

The BIOMAT research group focuses on diverse kinds of biomaterials with orofacial application, and encompasses fundamental material science and biological cell culture, micro-organism and animal research, as well as applied laboratory and clinical research.

Current major research lines include:

  • Biocompatibility and cariogenicity of  dental biomaterials
  • Dental adhesive technology
  • Translational research from fundamental material science to clinical trials
  • Dental ceramics as restorative and implant biomaterial
  • Endodontology (including pulp capping, pulp revascularization and regeneration)
  • Mechanobiology in implant dentistry and optimization of implant osseointegration
  • Clinical evaluation of direct, semi-direct and indirect adhesive restorative materials and procedures
  • Clinical studies on oral implant therapy and rehabilitation
  • For more:    


Oral Health monitoring of population groups

Research in this area is related to preventing and controlling oral diseases, promoting lifelong oral health and improving the quality of life through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (both public and private), communities and individuals. Reseach projects involve nation-wide surveys and collaboration with a wide rage of gouvernmental organizations, scientific and professional associations.

Current research lines are:

  • Exploring caries experience and its determinants
  • Oral health monitoring of population groups
  • Inventorizing oral health care needs in specific groups of the Belgian population
  • Evaluation of an oral health promotion initiative in small children - the Smile for Life project
  • Timing of tooth emergence and the challenge of dealing with interval-censored data
  • Misclassification and interval censoring when assessing caries experience
  • Impact of orthodontic treatment on oral health related quality of life

For more: oral health monitoring


European Dentists Make Evidence-Based Decisions: Bridge between Universities and Dentists (e-viDENT)

The objective of most dental practitioners is to treat patients using the appropriate treatment. However the growing body of scientific information and the advances in dental technology makes it harder for dentists to make correct and evidence based decisions.

Four universities and a professional dental organization have collaborated in the e-viDENT project aiming to raise awareness of EBD in Europe and to produce an e-book that will help you in your clinical practice.

Click on the icon for full text.


  • KU Leuven Dentistry ranked 5th place in QS Ranking topuniversities worldwide - full text (pdf)
  • Minister Maggie De Block attends graduation KU Leuven dentists (25/06/2015) - full text (pdf)


Coming soon

Head of the Department

Dominique Declerck

Tel: +32 16 332307


Department Manager

Sandra Winnen

Tel: +32 16 332582

Contact Information

Department of Oral Health Sciences
Kapucijnenvoer 7, box 7001
BE-3000 Leuven, Belgium

How to reach the department?

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