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Analgesics, anesthetics expert named Norton M. Ross Award recipient

October 21, 2013

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

Many accolades: Dr. Moore has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 40 clinical research projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and private industry.
Dr. Paul Moore's career has been a 'real joy'—despite the fact that it has been filled with lots of pain.

In a career spanning some four decades, Dr. Moore has stood at the fore of dental research in the realms of analgesics and anesthesia, working to eradicate suffering and phobia in dental patients. In recognition of his laudable career and his many successes, the ADA has named Dr. Moore recipient of the 2013 Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

A professor and former chair of the department of dental anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, he started in dentistry with a private practice in Oakmont, Pa. He soon turned to the academic setting and over the following 40 years earned many laurels in clinical research and spurred the advancement of safety and efficacy of drug therapy in dentistry.

“I have always been an inquisitive kind of person and I love research,” Dr. Moore said. “I am delighted and always a bit surprised to see that my work has had an impact on dental practice. It's been a real joy. I've been fortunate enough to work at institutions like the University of North Carolina, Harvard, Forsyth and, of course, the University of Pittsburgh that have been willing to support me to pursue new knowledge and its application into the clinical setting of dentistry.”

Dr. Moore graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine with a dental degree and Ph.D. in pharmacology. He later earned a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

His clinical expertise and areas of research include the safe use of local anesthetics in pediatric dentistry; pain management using long-acting local anesthetics; the development and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the local anesthetic, articaine; the efficacy of the novel local anesthetic reversal agent, phentolamine; safe and effective use of nitrous oxide-oxygen analgesia and oral sedatives for pediatric dental patients; clinical utility of transmucosal fentanyl; effective intravenous sedation in adults; and the efficacy of flumazenil for reversal of benzodiazepines.

His many accolades include serving as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 40 clinical research projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and private industry. He also has authored more than 250 articles, books, chapters and research abstracts on the topics of clinical pharmacology and dental therapeutics; and he has presented his research findings in more than 150 invited lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of local anesthesia, antibiotics, analgesics, sedation, drug interactions and oral complications of diabetes. Dental reviewers, book authors and others often cite his clinical research findings.

“At every turn, Dr. Moore has demonstrated resoluteness in finding solutions to some of the greatest challenges associated with dental pain management and dental fear and anxiety,” said ADA President Robert Faiella. “He brings a thoughtful and probing mind to his approach to clinical research, and he fully deserves to be honored with the 2013 Norton M. Ross Award for his many career accomplishments.”

The ADA has presented the Norton M. Ross Award annually since 1991 to recognize investigators whose research has significant impact on some aspect of clinical dentistry. The late Dr. Norton M. Ross was a dentist and pharmacologist who made significant contributions to oral medicine and dental clinical research.

The ADA sponsors the award in Dr. Ross' honor with support from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC Inc., the makers of LISTERINE and REACH products.

“It is our pleasure to recognize Dr. Paul Moore with the Norton Ross Award,” said Madeline Monaco, Ph.D., M.S., M.Ed., senior director, Global Research, Development and Engineering, Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products Worldwide. “Dr. Moore's clinical research has been critical to advancing safe and effective drug therapy in dentistry and his leadership in mentoring junior faculty in conducting clinical research is exemplary. Norton Ross would have been proud of Dr. Moore's impressive achievements and commitment.”

Dr. Moore will receive $5,000 and a commemorative plaque at a Nov. 2 presentation luncheon during Annual Session.

Colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Drs. Deborah Studen-Pavlovich and R. Donald Hoffman, nominated Dr. Moore. Dr. Studen-Pavlovich is a professor and chairs the pediatric dentistry department, and Dr. Hoffman is special assistant to the dean and president of the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

“Similar to Dr. Ross's career, Dr. Moore recognized the value of obtaining dual degrees in dentistry and pharmacology,” wrote Drs. Studen-Pavlovich and Hoffman. “His contributions to the profession have focused on the development of drug therapies for the safe administration of local anesthesia, control of postoperative dental pain, and the elimination of dental fear and anxiety. It seems quite appropriate that Dr. Moore's clinical research contributions be recognized with this prestigious award.”

While the bulk of Dr. Moore's work has centered on advancing pain and anxiety control in dentistry, of late he also has been keenly interested in developing educational strategies for preventing drug abuse and diversion of opioids in dentistry.

He has played pivotal roles in the development of a noninjectable local anesthetic that is administered as a nasal mist; demonstration of the safety of phentolamine when administered to young children; and development of a potentially safer lidocaine formulation that uses minimal vasoconstrictor.

Aside from clinical research projects, another joy for Dr. Moore has been his role as a dental educator. He has served as a research adviser and mentored more than 30 students and residents on their research projects.

“I am amazed and pleased when students come up and remember me and my lectures and the principles and issues of drug efficacy and safety,” Dr. Moore said. “It's always nice to see that you've communicated well with your students. Some of them have continued down the road to academic appointments and some are now pursuing research careers.”

With passion, Dr. Moore promotes the establishment of dental anesthesiology departments at all U.S. dental schools, such as the one at University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, a unique entity.

“I think for the next couple of years I will continue to advocate that every school in the United States develops separate departments of dental anesthesiology to broaden the scope of clinical research and improve educational opportunities for our predoctoral students, hygiene students and graduate students,” he said.

As for future studies and clinical research projects, he said, “I hope to be able to continue to investigate new agents that would be safe and effective for use in dentistry. There are several studies that I'm working on in terms of assessing post-operative pain. We have some interest in novel long-acting local anesthetic formulations. We have a project looking at that.”

Dr. Moore goes quiet for a moment of further reflection and then quips, “And I'm thinking a lot about fishing for trout in Montana. I'm 66. I may now have time to dream about other challenges.”