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John Zuniga, D.M.D.
John Zuniga, D.M.D.

John Zuniga, D.M.D.

  • Robert V. Walker, D.D.S. Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Surgery - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Biography

John Zuniga, D.M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Chief of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and holder of the Robert V. Walker D.D.S. Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He specializes in oral and maxillofacial surgery, specifically temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and neurosensory disorders.

Dr. Zuniga earned his dental degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He then completed separate residencies in general dentistry and in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Rochester. During the latter, he also earned an M.S. and and Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Rochester’s Center for Brain Research.

Prior to joining the UT Southwestern faculty in 2006, Dr. Zuniga served as Director of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Graduate Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as the Co-Director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Pain and Neurosensory Disorders Program.

As an experienced trigeminal nerve microsurgeon, Dr. Zuniga has performed more than 300 nerve repairs. He also has a clinical interest in benign pathology, dentoalveolar surgery, and trauma of the oral and maxillofacial region.

His research interests are chronic and acute orofacial pain and trigeminal neurosensory disorders, including understanding sensory function and dysfunction and their response to surgical and nonsurgical treatments. He completed a multisite, randomized clinical trial on the benefits of a new analgesic medication to treat moderate to severe pain. He is also involved in trials on the benefits of processed nerve allograft on jaw reconstruction.

Dr. Zuniga is active locally, nationally, and internationally in the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, where he served six years on the Examination Committee. He is on the editorial board of and an ad hoc reviewer for multiple journals focused on neuroscience and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

He also serves on several committees for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and is a voting member of the dental products panel for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Dr. Zuniga has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters related to chronic and acute orofacial pain and trigeminal neurosensory disorders, and he has been the principal investigator or co-investigator in more than 24 grants and contracts from federal, industry, or foundation sources.

His honors include the Daniel Laskin Award for Most Outstanding Publication in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the William J. Gies Award for Clinical Research in Journal Dental Research, the William J. Gies Award in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for the Advancement of Dentistry, and the 2018 Donald B. Osborn Award for Outstanding Educator.

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Education & Training
  • Medical School - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (1975-1978)
  • Residency - Strong Mem Hosp Univ of Rochester (1978-1979), General Dentistry
  • Graduate School - University of Rochester (1982-1985)
  • Other Post Graduate Training - University of Rochester (1984-1986)
  • Residency - Strong Mem Hosp Univ of Rochester (1979-1986), Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Honors & Awards
  • William J. Gies Award in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for the Advancement of Dentistry 2012, merit award in oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • William J. Gies Award for Clinical Research 2008, annual award for publication recognition in Journal of Dental Research
  • US FDA Advisory Committee Service Award 2006, distinguished service recognition
  • Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation Research Recognition Award 2002, merit in oral and maxillofacial surgery research
  • Buonocore Research Award 1985, merit in oral and maxillofacial surgery research
  • Daniel M. Laskin Award for Most Outstanding Publication 1998, annual award for publication recognition
Books & Publications

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