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Cariology, Restorative Sciences, and Endodontics

Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD



Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics
School of Dentistry, Room 2393
University of Michigan
1011 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078
TEL = 734-647-1225
FAX = 734-936-1597
EMAIL = | additional contact information

Research Lab  |  2012 CV


Margherita Fontana, DDS, PhD, holds the position of Professor (tenured) in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics at University of Michigan School of Dentistry. After receiving her dental degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), Caracas Venezuela, in 1990, Dr. Fontana worked as a Research Assistant in the Dental Research Institute, Dental School, UCV for two years, while she also worked in private practice. In 1992 she moved to the United States to pursue her research interests, and in 1996 completed a four-year PhD program in Dental Sciences at Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN. She served in the full time faculty at Indiana University until the Fall of 2009 serving there as Director of the Microbial Caries Model Facility, which is part of the Oral Health Research Institute; director of the Oral Biofilms in Caries Assessment and Management Research Program; and also Director of Predoctoral Education (Caries Management Program) for the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. She currently maintains an Affiliate position at Indiana University. She has always been very involved in teaching (problem based learning, laboratory and didactic) in Cariology in the DDS, postdoctoral and dental hygiene programs. She is currently codirector of the cariology I and II courses, and cariology discipline co-coordinator at the School of Dentistry. As a principal investigator, she has received research grants from the National Institute of Health, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, the Delta Dental Fund, and private industry. Dr. Fontana has lectured as an invited speaker in different countries being recognized for her work in the field of Cariology. She was the first president for the Indiana Chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association, and has been a member for many years of the International Association for Dental Research, the European Organization for Caries Research (ORCA), and the American Society for Microbiology. She was the 2007-2008 President of the Cariology group of the International Association for Dental Research,the 2010-2011 Chair of the newly approved Cariology Section of the American Dental Education Association, and a Fellow in the 2011-2012 class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. In 2012 she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her work on caries risk assessment in children.


Dr. Fontana's clinical research interests relate primarily to caries management in children, including risk assessment, dental sealants, oral biofilms as it relates to caries development and/or prevention (and included in this area, therapies that may affect the biofilm, such as xylitol), secondary caries, caries remineralization, and early caries detection. Her work has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Delta Dental Foundation, and private industry.

Current Project: Michigan Caries Prevention Program


Dr. Fontana is greatly involved and interested in the teaching of Cariology to pre-doctoral DDS and dental hygiene students, as well as graduate students. She is currently codirector of the cariology I and II courses and co-coordinator for the discipline of cariology in the curriculum. Additionally, she regularly mentors students conducting research projects in Cariology. Dr. Fontana is also interested in developing and integrating new teaching methods to improve the education of dental students, and in developing a caries risk-based management program that will help develop competent dentists in the area of caries disease management, promote critical thinking and use of evidence based information in order to improve the oral health of patients and the community.


  1. Fontana M, González-Cabezas C, Fitzgerald M.  Cariology for the 21st Century-Current Carie Management Concepts for Dental Practice.  Journal Michigan Dent Association 2013 April; 32-40.
  2. Twetman S, Fontana M, Featherstone J.  Risk assessment - can w reach consensus?  Commun Dent Oral Epidemiol 2013; 41(1): e64-e70.
  3. Ismail AI, Tellez M, Pitts NB, Ekstrand KR, Ricketts D, Longbottom C, Eggertsson H, Deery C, Fisher J, Young DA, Featherstone JDB, Evans W, Zeller GG, Zero D, Martingon S, Fontana M, Zandona A.  Caries Management Pathways Preserve Dental Tissues and Promote Oral Health.  Commun Den Oral Epidemio 2013; 41(1): e12-e40.
  4. Fontana M, González-Cabezas C. Exploring your technology options for detection of caries lesions.  Inside Dentitry 2013; March: 2-5.
  5. Fontana M, Gooch B, Junger M, Hall.  Technique may be an effective treatment modality for caries in primary molars. J Evid Base Dent Pract 2012; 12:110-112.
  6. Fontana M, González-Cabezas C.  Minimal intervention dentistry: part 2. Caries risk assessment in adults. British Dental Journal 2012;213:447-451.
  7. Fontana M, González-Cabezas C. Are we ready for definitive clinical guidelines on xylitol/polyol use?  Adv Dent Res 2012 Sep;24(2):123-128.
  8. González-Cabezas C, Jiang H, Fontana M, Eckert G.  Effect of low pH on surface rehardening efficacy of high concentration fluoride treatments on non-cavitated lesions. J Dent 2012 Jun;40(6):522-526.
  9. Fontana M, Yound D, Wolff M, Pitts N, Longbottom C. Definiendo la caries dental para 2010 y en adelante Graceta Dental 2011;226:104-129.
  10. Fontana M, Santiago E,  Eckert GJ, Ferreira Zandona AG. Risk Factors of Caries Progression in a Hispanic School-Age Population. J Dent Res 2011;90(10):1189-1196.
  11. Fontana M, Gonzalez-Cabezas C. Evaluation du risque carieux chez l'adulte. Réalités Cliniques. 2011;22; 3:213-19.
  12. Fontana M, Wolff M.  Opportunities and Challenges for Caries Management. J Calif Dent Associ 2011; 39(10):702-708.
  13. Young D, Ricks CS, Featherstone JDB, Fontana M, Fournier SM, Geiermann SP, Hurlbutt M, Kutsch VK, Loftus R, Luther JR, Nový BB, Wolff MS, Wong A. Creating a Roadmap. Changing the Face and Practice of Dentistry: a 10-Year Plan. J Calif Dent Associ 2011;39(10):746-751.
  14. Ando M, Platt JA, Soto-Rojas AE, Eckert GJ, Zero DT, Fontana M. Comparison of Two Thresholds for Fluorescence Image Analysis on Occlusal Caries Quantification under Clear Sealants. Caries Research 2011 (submitted).
  15. Platt JA, Fontana M, Kurshuk A, Hara A, Ando M, Eckert G. Time-dependent Changes in a Clear Sealant and their Effects on QLF. Operative Dentistry 2011 (submitted).
  16. Fontana M, Jackson R, Eckert G, Swigonski N, Chin J, Ferreira Zandona A, Ando M, Stookey GK, Downs S, Zero D. Identification of Caries Risk Factors in Toddlers. J Dent Res 2011; 90(2):209-214.
  17. Söderling E, Hirvonen A, Karjalainen S, Fontana M, Catt D, Seppä L.The Effect of Xylitol on the Composition of the Oral Flora: A Pilot Study. European Journal of Dentistry 2011; 5(1):24-31.
  18. Fontana M, Young D, Wolff M, Pitts N, Longbottom C. Definiendo la caries dental para 2010 y en adelante. Gaceta Dental 2011; 226:104-129.
  19. Fontana M, Zero D, Beltran-Aguilar E, Grey Sk. Techniques for tooth surface assessments in school-based sealant programs. JADA 2010; 141(7):854-860.
  20. Fontana M, Young D, Wolff M, Pitts N, Longbottom C. Defining Dental Caries for 2010 and beyond. Dent Clin N Am2010;54: 423–440.
  21. Eckert Ge, Jackson R, Fontana M (2010).Variation of Caries Risk Factors in Toddlers and Caregivers. International Journal of Dentistry (pii: 593487. Epub 2010 Sep 23).
  22. Ferreira-Zandona A, Santiago E, Eckert G, Fontana M, Ando M, Zero D. Use Of ICDAS Combined With Quantitative Light-Induced Fluorescence  As A Caries Detection Method. Caries Res 2010;44(3):317-322.
  23. Gooch BF, Griffin SO, Gray SK, Kohn WG, Rozier RG, Siegal M, Fontana M, Brunson D, Carter N, Curtis DK, Donly KJ, Haering H, Hill LF, Hinson HP, Kumar J, Lampiris L, Mallatt M, Meyer DM, Miller WR, Sanzi-Schaedel SM, Simonsen R, Truman BI, Zero DT; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing dental caries through school-based sealant programs: updated recommendations and reviews of evidence. J Am Dent Assoc. 2009 Nov;140(11):1356-65.  
  24. Twetman S, Fontana M.  Patient caries risk assessment.  Monogr Oral Sci 2009;21:91-101. [Epub 2009 Jun 3]. 
  25. Fontana M. Caries detection and diagnosis (Module 3). Online school-based sealant program.  Ohio State Department of Health and National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center 2009: Http://
  26. Longbottom C, Huysmans M-Ch, Pitts N, Fontana M.  Glossary of key terms. Mong Oral Sci 2009;21:209-216.
  27. Fontana M, Young D, Wolff M.  Evidence based caries risk assessment and treatment.  Dental Clinics of North America 2009;53:149-161
  28. Fontana M, Catt D, Sissons C, Eckert GJ, Ofner S, Toro M, Gregory RL, Ferreira Zandona A, Eggertsson H, Jackson R, Chin J, Zero D.  Xylitol: effects on the acquisition of cariogenic species in infants. Pediatric Dent 2009 May-Jun;31(3):257-66
  29. Fontana M. Caries detection and diagnosis module. Online shcool-based sealant program. Ohio state department of health and national material and child oral health resource center. Online Website created by the Ohio Department of Health 2008; (accepted).
  30. Zero DT, Fontana M, Martínez-Mier EA, Ferreira-Zandoná A, Ando M, González-Cabezas C, Bayne S. The biology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental caries. JADA 2009;140(9):25S-35S.
  31. Griffin SO, Oong E, Kohn W, Vidakovic B, Gooch BF, Bader J, Clarkson J, Fontana MR, Meyer D, Rozier RG, Weintraub JA, Zero DT.  The effectiveness of sealants in managing carious lesions. J Dent Res 2008;87(2):169-174
  32. Thneibat A, Fontana M, Cochran MA, González-Cabezas C, Moore BK, Matis BA, Lund MR. Anticariogenic and antibacterial properties of a copper varnish using an in vitro microbial caries model. Oper Dent 2008;33-2:142-148
  33. Totiam P, González-Cabezas C, Fontana M, Zero D. A new in vitro model to study the relationship of gap size and secondary caries. Caries Res 2007;41:467-473
  34. Young D, Featherstone J, Roth JR, Anderson M, Autio-Gold J, Christensen GJ, Fontana M, Kutsch VK, Peters MC, Simonsen RJ, Wolff MS.  Consensus statement caries management by risk assessment: implementation guidelines to support oral health. J Calif Dent Assoc 2007;35(11):799-805
  35. Catt DM, Fontana M. Xylitol-a dual role in caries prevention. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene 2007;3:24-26.
  36. Fontana M, Zero D. Bridging the gap in caries management between research and practice through education: the Indiana University experience. J Dent Ed 2007;71(5):579-591


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update: 01/02/2014