Donald R. Nixdorf

Donald Nixdorf

Academic Title

Associate Professor
Director, Advanced Education Program in Orofacial Pain

Division of TMD and Orofacial Pain
Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences


Hospital Dentistry, The Ohio State University, 1996
Orofacial Pain, University of Alberta, 2000; Anesthesia, Johns Hopkins University, 1999
Dentistry, BS, University of Alberta, 1994
Clinical Research, University of Minnesota, 2012; Dentistry, The Ohio State University, 1998
Other Education
Dentistry, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), University of Alberta, 1996; Anatomy, McGill University, 1994

Contact Info


612-626-5407 / 612-626-0140 (clinic)


Office Address

6-320 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Bio Statement

Dr. Nixdorf came to the University of Minnesota in 2002. Currently he is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director at the University of Minnesota in the Division of TMD & Orofacial Pain, adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, Research Investigator in the HealthPartners Institute for Research and Education, and the Deputy Director of the Midwest Region within the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN). Dr. Nixdorf is a Diplomate of the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology (NDBA) and the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP). Furthermore, he is a past Chair of the Written Examination Council for the ABOP, current Director of the ABOP, member of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association’s Medical Advisory Board, committee member revising Chapter 13 of International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-III), and is involved in the development of the DC/TMD via joint effort between the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Orofacial Pain special interest group and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) RDC/TMD consortium.


Clinical Care

  • Neuropathic orofacial pains, such as trigeminal neuralgia and deafferentation pain (a.k.a atypical odontalgia)
  • Headache management, including tension-type, migraine, paroxysmal hemicrania, cluster and other autonomic cephalalgias
  • TMD pain and jaw dysfunction


  • Diagnostic process of orofacial pain symptoms and disorders, specifically non-dental reasons for "toothache"
  • Management of orofacial pain disorders, including the biopsychosocial approach to care as well as pharmacotherapy


  • Epidemiological aspects of tooth pain association with dental procedures, specifically root canal therapy
  • Functional imaging of chronic orofacial pain conditions
  • Classification of orofacial pain disorders
  • Dental MRI


Research Projects

Active Grants

SWIFT MRI for evaluation of mandibular invasion in oral squamous cell carcinoma”

Study Goal: Develop a SWIFT compatible MRI coil to image the bone-soft tissue interface to assess for penetration prior to surgical exploration.

  • Role = content expert @ 5% effort (PI: Samir Khariwala)
  • Funding Agency: UMN CTSI’s Novel Methods pilot opportunity
  • Funding Duration: September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2014

National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

Source: NIDCR

Study Goal: Develop The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN) and conduct clinical research about, in, and for the benefit of “real world” everyday practicing oral health professionals.

  • Role = Deputy Director for Midwest Region @ 20% effort (PI: Gregg Gilbert)
  • Funding agency: NIH/NIDCR
  • Funding duration: April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2019

Understanding the impacts of persistent tooth pain

Study Goal: Using qualitative data collection methods, describe the impacts of this pain has of peoples daily life.

  • Role = PI & Faculty supervisor (Fellow: Justin Durham)
  • Funding agencies: SOD Lasby Visiting Fellowship, University of Minnesota and American Academy of Orofacial Pain
  • Funding Duration: July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014

Supplement to P41-RR008079 “NMR Imaging & Spectroscopy”

Development of Dental Magnetic Resonance Imaging using SWIFT

Study Goal: Establish the feasibility of in vivo MR-imaging of both calcified and non-calcified tissues of teeth with a resolution 0.2 mm, in three-dimensions.

  • Role = Co-I at 20% effort (PI: Kamil Ugurbil)
  • Funding Agency = NIH/NCRR
  • Funding Duration: September 15, 2011 to March 31, 2013

“Diagnosis for persistent dentoalveolar pain following root canal therapy”

Study Goal: This is a nested case-control study that seeks to identify etiologic factors associated with patients who report pain at 6 months within DPBRN Study 18.

  • Role = PI
  • Funding agency: AAE Foundation & AAOP
  • Funding Duration: July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012

Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) study protocols 17 & 18
Peri-operative Pain and Root Canal Therapy

Study Goal: Determine the frequency and magnitude of tooth pain present 1 week and 6 months following initial orthograde root canal therapy.

  • Role = Project Manager for both studies @ 40% effort (PI: Gregg Gilbert)
  • Funding agency: NIH/NIDCR
  • Status: Sub-contracts granted from U01-DE016747
  • Project duration: April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012



Peer-Review Articles

1. Durham J, Nixdorf DR. Healthcare Pathway and Biopsychosocial Impact of Persistent Dentoalveolar Pain disorder (PDAP): A Qualitative Study. In press with International Endodontic Journal

2. Idiyatullin D, Corum C, Nixdorf DR, Garwood M. Intraoral approach for imaging teeth using the transverse B1 field components of an occlusally oriented loop coil. In press with Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

3. Schiffman E, Ohrbach R, Truelove E, Look J, Anderson G, Goulet J-P, List T, Svensson P, Gonzalez Y, Lobbezoo F, Michelotti A, Brooks S, Ceusters W, Drangsholt M, Ettlin D, Gaul C, Goldberg LJ, Haythornthwaite J, Hollender L, Jensen R, John MT, deLaat A, deLeeuw R, Maixner W, van der Meulen M, Murray GM, Nixdorf DR, Palla S, Petersson A, Pionchon P, Smith B, Visscher C, Zakrzewska J, and Dworkin SF (2014). Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (DC/TMD) for Clinical and Research Applications: Recommendations of the International RDC/TMD Consortium Network and Orofacial Pain Special Interest Group. J Oral Facial Pain Headache (Winter) 2014;28(1):6-27.

4. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition (beta version). Chapter 13: Painful cranial neuropathies and other facial pains. Cephalalgia (July) 2013;33(9):774-786.

5. Durham J, Exley C, John MT, Nixdorf DR. Persistent dentoalveolar pain: The patient’s experience. Journal of Orofacial Pain (Winter) 2013;27(1):6-13.

6. Schierz O, Nixdorf DR, Singer S, Reissmann D. Ability to concentrate in patients with painful temporomandibular disorders. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (December) 2012;40(6):507-515.

7. Nixdorf DR, Law AS, Look JO, Rindal DB, Durand EU, Kang W, Agee BS, Fellows JL, Gordan VV, Gilbert GH for The National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Large-scale Clinical Endodontic Research in The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network: Study Overview and Methods. Journal of Endodontics (November) 2012;38(11):1470-1478.

8. Schiffman E, Ohrbach R, List T, Anderson G, Jensen R, John MT, Nixdorf D, Goulet JP, Kang W, Truelove E, Clavel A, Fricton J, Look J. Diagnostic criteria for headache attributed to temporomandibular disorders. Cephalalgia (July) 2012:32(9):683-692.

9. Nixdorf DR, Sobieh R, Gierthmühlen J. Using an n-of-1 trial to assist in clinical orofacial pain management. Journal of the American Dental Association (March) 2012;143(3):259-261.

10. Nixdorf DR, Drangsholt MT, Ettlin DA, Gaul C, de Leeuw R, Svenson P, Zakrzewska JM, De Laat A, Ceusters A. Classifying orofacial pains: Developing a taxonomy using ontological principles. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation (March) 2012;39(3):161-169.

11. Nixdorf D, Moana-Filho E. Persistent dento-alveolar pain disorder (PDAP): Working towards a better understanding. Reviews in Pain (December) 2011;5(4);18-25.

12. Idiyatullin D, Corum CA, Moeller S, Prasad HS, Garwood M, Nixdorf DR. Dental MRI: Making the Invisible Visible. Journal of Endodontics (June) 2011;37(6):745-752.

13. Anderson GA, John MT, Ohrbach R, Nixdorf DR, Schiffman EL, Truelove ES, List T. Influence of headache frequency on clinical signs and symptoms of TMD in subjects with temple headache and TMD pain. Pain (April) 2011;152(4):765-771.

14. Kobayashi N, Idiyatullin D, Corum C, Moeller S, Chamberlain R, O’Connell R, Nixdorf DR, Garwood M. Detecting fleeting MRI signals with frequency-modulated pulses. AIP Conference Proceedings (March) 2011;1330:23-26.

15. Moana-Fihlo EJ, Nixdorf DR, John MT, Berieter DA, Harel N. Evaluation of a magnetic resonance-compatible dentoalveolar tactile stimulus device. BMC Neuroscience (October) 2010;11:142.

16. Leppik IE, Goel V, Nixdorf DR, Rarick J, Cloyd JC. Intramuscular and Intravenous Levetiracetam in Humans: Safety and Pharmacokinetics. Epilepsy Research (October) 2010;91(2-3):289-292.

17. Nixdorf DR, Moana-Filho EJ, McGuire LA, Hodges JS, Law AS, John MT. Nonodontogenic Pain Post Endodontic Therapy: Meta-analysis. Journal of Endodontics (September) 2010;36(9):224-230.

18. Fricton JR, Ouyanh W, Nixdorf DR, Schiffman ES, Velly AM, Look JO. Critical Appraisal of Methods used in Randomized Controlled Trials of Treatments for Temporomandibular Disorders. Journal of Orofacial Pain (Winter) 2010;24(2):139-151.

19. Nixdorf DR, Moana-Filho EJ, McGuire LA, Hodges JS, Law AS, John MT. Frequency of Persistent Tooth Pain Following Root Canal Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Endodontics (February) 2010;36(2):224-230.

20. Law AS, Durand EU, Rindal DB, Nixdorf DR for the DPBRN Group. Doctor, why does my tooth still hurt? Northwest Dentistry (January-February) 2010;89(1):33-36.

21. Nixdorf DR, John MT, Wall MM, Look JO, Fricton JR, Schiffman EL. Psychometric evaluation of the modified Symptom Severity Index (SSI). Journal of Oral Rehabilitation (January) 2010;37(1):11-20.

22. Nixdorf DR, John MT, Schierz O, Bereiter DA, Hellekant G. Self-reported severity of taste disturbances correlates with grade of TMD pain. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation (November) 2009;36(11):792-800.

23. Nixdorf DR, Hemmaty A, John MT, EL Schiffman, Look JO. Electric toothbrush application is a reliability & validity quantitative sensory test in categorizing TMJD patients from controls. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (July) 2009;10:94.

24. Giri S, Nixdorf D. Sympathetically Maintained Pain Initially Presenting as TMD and then Parotid Dysfunction. Texas Dental Journal (August) 2007;124(8):748-752.

25. Giri S, Nixdorf D. Sympathetically Maintained Pain Initially Presenting as TMD and then Parotid Dysfunction. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association (March) 2007;73(2):157-161.

26. Alonso AA, Nixdorf DR. Case Series of Four Different Headache Types Presenting as Tooth Pain. Journal of Endodontics (November) 2006;32(11):1110-1113.

27. Nixdorf DR, Peters E, Lung KE. Clinical Presentation and differential diagnosis of the nasolabial cyst. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association (March) 2003;69(3):138-141.

28. Nixdorf DR, Heo G, Major PD. Controlled trial of botulinum toxin A for chronic myogenous orofacial pain. Pain (October) 2002;99(3):465-473.

Book Chapters

1. Garwood M, Idiyatullin D, Corum CA, Chamberlain R, Moeller S, Kobayashi N, Lehto LJ, Zhang J, O’Connell R, Tesch M, Nissi MJ, Ellermann J, Nixdorf DR. Capturing Signals from Fast Relaxing Spins with Frequency-Swept MRI: SWIFT. In: Young I, Fullerton G, Bydder G (eds) for Imaging of Short T2/T2*. Encyclopedia of Magnetic Resonance. Wiley: New York 2012.

2. Zakrzewska JM, Nixdorf DR. Trigeminal Neuralgia – Definition, Epidemiology, Etiology, Pathogenesis and Management. In: Schmidt RF, Willis WD (eds). Encyclopedia of Pain. Springer-Verlag: New York 2012.

3. Mattscheck D, Law AS, Nixdorf DR. Diagnosis of Non-odontogenic Toothache. In: Hargreaves KM, Cohen S (eds). Cohen’s Pathways of the Pulp. 10th edition Mosby: St. Louis 2011:49-70.

4. Nixdorf DR, Velly AM, Alonso AA. Neurovascular pains: Implications of migraine for the oral & maxillofacial surgeon. In: Balasubramaniam R & Klasser GD (eds). Orofacial Pain & Dysfunction. Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic North American 2008;20:221-235.

5. Nixdorf DR. Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diagnosis & Treatment. In: Schmidt RF, Willis WD (eds). Encyclopedia of Pain. Springer-Verlag: New York 2007:2547-2550.


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TMD, Orofacial Pain, Oral Medicine and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic

Advanced Education Program in Orofacial Pain

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  • Last modified on February 27, 2014