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Area Health Education Center (AHEC)


AHEC Biosketch


Dr. Gregory Essick

Dr. Gregory Essick (More Detail)


Dr. Essick is a professor in the UNC School of Dentistry Department of Prosthodontics and oversees the curriculum in neurobiology at UNC. He completed his D.D.S and his Ph.D. training in physiology at the University and post-doctoral work at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Currently, Dr. Essick lectures at undergraduate and graduate levels on orofacial sensation and function at the School of Dentistry. He lectures in both basic science and preclinical fixed prosthodontics courses to integrate the physiology of jaw movements to the dental occlusion and use of the articulator. He is a laboratory instructor in the preclinical removable prosthodontic courses. Most recently, he has expanded his lecturing to include dental sleep medicine, the use of oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea, snoring and related disorders.

Dr. Essick is principal investigator of research conducted within the School of Dentistry's Center for Neurosensory Disorders. His laboratory contains state-of-the-art instrumentation for research on sensory and pain mechanisms supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. His studies address CNS regulatory mechanisms that are hypothesized to contribute to the maintenance of persistent musculoskeletal pain, including temporomandibular disorders. Dr. Essick's work has been published in numerous journals and book chapters. Through collaboration with faculty in the Department of Orthodontics, Dr. Essick also studies facial sensation in patients with cleft lip and in patients who undergo orthognathic surgery for correction of dentofacial anomalies. Dr. Essick also collaborates with food scientists at North Carolina State University to better understand how food texture affects chewing and food perception.

Dr. Essick is a provider in the UNC Dental Faculty Practice, focusing on dental sleep medicine. In consultation with the patient's physician, therapy for sleep-disordered breathing is tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

Dr. Essick currently serves as chair of the Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee at the School of Dentistry.

Dr. Essick is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the Society for Neuroscience and the International/American Association for Dental Research.