PEARLPractitioners Engaged in Applied Research and Learning—is an NIH-sponsored network of private-practice dentists who conduct clinical studies in the course of routine patient care. PEARL Network studies originate with ideas submitted by PEARL members and seek answers to questions of immediate interest to their profession. 


PEARL Practitioner-Investigators generate ideas for and conduct studies that seek research-based solutions to the problems routinely confronted by general practitioners. PEARL studies are conducted by more than 100 Practitioner-Investigators in 20 states serving a diverse patient population.

PEARL Practitioner-Investigators enjoy several benefits, including Continuing Education credits from New York University.

PEARL Network Organization

The PEARL membership enjoys the support of a PEARL Network infrastructure that includes personnel from the New York University College of Dentistry, the EMMES Corporation, and the National Insitutes of Health as well as an External Advisory Board of extramural experts and an Institutional Review Board.

Development and conduct of PEARL Network studies is overseen by the PEARL Executive Committee—most of whose members are elected by and from among the PEARL membership—and is managed by a PEARL Executive Management Team composed of NYU faculty who collectively represent nearly one hundred years of clinical research experience. PEARL Network operations are further supported by a world-class data-coordinating center (EMMES Corporation), the largest commercial dental benefit plan in the U.S. (MetLife Dental), and a panel of distinguished extramural investigators and consultants.

PEARL History

The PEARL Network was launched in 2005 when New York University College of Dentistry received a $26.7 million award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (part of NIH) to establish one of three regional practice-based research networks with the mandate to expand the research evidence base in dentistry. Over its 7-year grant period, the PEARL Network is expected to conduct approximately 20 short-term studies, several of which are currently under way or in the planning stages.

Our Current PEARL studies

Treatment of Deep Caries (PRL0604)
Dentists are frequently faced with the decision of whether to remove all carious dentin and risk pulpal exposure or to leave carious dentin in close proximity to the pulp and seal the lesion with a resin-bonded restoration during the excavation of a deep carious lesion.  To address this question, this study compares the effect of complete versus partial caries removal in class I and II deep carious lesions on (1) pulp vitality, (2) post-operative hypersensitivity and quality of life, and (3) the type of lining and bonding technique outcomes.

Post-Operative Hypersensitivity
Results of the PEARL study "Post-Operative hypersensitivity after placement of Class I bonded resin based composite restorations" found that hypersensitivity was common after placement of this restoration, but raised the question as to whether placement of a liner was an effective means of decreasing senstivity. This lead to our development of this two-armed, randomized clinical trial. Our goal is to compare the effect on post-operative hypersensitivity of resin-bonded composite restorations using a dentin bonding agent, with and without placement of a resin modified glass ionomer liner.

The reduction in hypersensitivity between the two groups will be compared clinically using air and cold testing and by patient reported outcomes at three time points: prior to placement of the restoration and 1 and 4 weeks post-operatively. In addition, potential risk factors for post-operative hypersensitivity will be recorded including: state/extent of the carious lesion as measured by the proposed ADA caries Classification System, lesion depth as measured on the preoperative radiograph, dentin caries ranked on opening the lesion, preparation depth, and patient sleep bruxism status.


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