Donald R. Nixdorf, DDS, MS

Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

Donald R. Nixdorf

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-5407

Fax 612-626-0138

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

Residency, Ohio State University (Hospital Dentistry), 1996

Fellowship, University of Alberta (Orofacial Pain), 2000;

Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University (Anesthesia), 1999

DDS, University of Alberta, 1996; Anatomy, McGill University, 1994

MS, University of Minnesota (Clinical Research), 2012

The Ohio State University (Dentistry), 1998

BS, University of Alberta (Dentistry), 1994

McGill University (Anatomy), 1994


Dr. Nixdorf is an Associate Professor and Acting Director, Division of TMD & Orofacial Pain. His clinical and teaching interests include the diagnosis and management of chronic TMD pain, headaches and neuropathic pain. His research is focused on the topic of persistent non-odontogenic “tooth” pain, looking at issues related to classification (e.g., consensus building), diagnosis (e.g., development of criteria, imaging, screening questionnaires), epidemiology, (e.g., determining predictive factors, assessing of impact), exploration of mechanisms (e.g., sensory testing, functional imaging), and treatment options.

Awards & Recognition

  • UMN School of Dentistry's 2016 Clinical Paper of the Year
  • AAE Foundation’s 2015 highest scoring faculty research grant proposal
  • Journal of Endodontics' award for best clinical research publication in 2014
  • Member of the TNA Facial Pain’s Medical Advisory Board
  • 2012 Alpha Omega dental society inductee
  • 1998 Phi Kappa Phi honor society inductee
  • 1998 Ohio State Post College Assembly table clinic award
  • 1997 Biotene award, excellence in hospital dentistry
  • 1995 Dentsply table clinic award
  • 1995 Academic All Canadian
  • 1995 & 1994 Jimmie Condon track and field scholarships
  • 1994 & 1993 Farquarson research scholarships

Member of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association's Medical Advisory Board


Research Funding Grants

Active Grants

“Developing Dental Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Reliability Assessment of Detecting Cracks in Teeth”
Study Goal: Derive MRI criteria for crack identification in teeth, establish the reliability, and demonstrate it is feasible to detect such cracks in vivo. This will be accomplished by consensus building and reiterative changes to the criteria, obtaining MRIs of ex vivo teeth/jaw specimens (with before and after comparison), and imaging 5 patients with known cracked teeth.
Funding Agency: American Association Endodontic (AAE) Foundation

“Predictors of Endodontic Treatment Outcomes”
Study Goal: Planning grant to develop a full protocol for a prospective observational study that will identify the predictive factors for severe acute pain and assess the impact of persistent pain over the course of 1-year follow of patients that received initial orthodgrade root canal therapy.
Funding Agency: Subcontract from U19-DE022516 (PI: Gregg Gilbert)


“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.
Funding agency: SOD Lasby Visiting Fellowship, University of Minnesota

“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.
Funding Agency: NIH/NCRR P41-RR008079 (PI: Kamil Ugurbil)

“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.
Funding agency: AAE Foundation & AAOP

“Peri-operative Pain and Root Canal Therapy”, Study protocols 17 & 18
Study Goal: Determine the frequency and magnitude of tooth pain present 1 week and 6 months following initial orthograde root canal therapy.
Funding agency: Subcontract for U01-DE016747 (PI: Gregg Gilbert)


Classification of Orofacial Pain Disorders

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. 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. Journal Oral & Facial Pain and Headache (Winter) 2014;28(1):6-27.

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.

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.

Endodontic Diagnoses and Pain

Pigg M, Law AS, Nguyen RHN, Nixdorf DR, National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Validity of preoperative clinical findings to identify dental pulp status: A National Dental PBRN. In press with Journal of Endodontics

Nixdorf DR, Law AS, John MT, Sobieh RM, Kohli R, Nguyen R, National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Diagnoses for Persistent pain following root canal treatment: A nested case series study in the National Dental PBRN. Journal of Endodontics (April) 2015;41(4):457-463.

Nixdorf DR, Law AS, Lindquist K, Reams GS, Cole E, Kanter K, Nguyen RHN, Harris DR, National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Frequency, impact, and predictors of persistent pain following root canal treatment: A National Dental PBRN. Pain (January) 2016;157(1):159-165.

Law AS, Nixdorf DR, Aguirre AM, Reams GS, Tortomasi AJ, Manne BD, Harris DR, National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Predictors of severe pain following root canal therapy in the National Dental PBRN. Journal Dental Research (March) 2015;94(3 Suppl):37S-43S.

Law AS, Nixdorf DR, Rabinowitz I, Reams GS, Smith Jr. JA, Torres AV, Harris DR, National Dental PBRN Collaborative Group. Root Canal Therapy Reduces Dimensions of Pain: A National Dental Practice-based Research Network Study. Journal of Endodontics (November) 2014;40(11):1738-1745.

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.

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.

Mattscheck D, Law AS, Nixdorf DR. Diagnosis of Non-odontogenic Toothache. In: Hargreaves KM, Cohen S (eds). Cohen’s Pathways of the Pulp Expert Consult. 11th edition Mosby: St. Louis 2016:684-705.

Measurement and Treatment of Persistent Dentoalveolar Pain Disorder (PDAP)

Herrero Babiloni AA, Kapos FP, Nixdorf DR. Intraoral administration of onabotulinum toxin for trigeminal neuropathic pain. In press with Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology

Al-Musawi M, Durham J, Whitworth JM, Stone SJ, Nixdorf DR, Valentine RA. Effect of topic neuromodulatory medications on oral and skin keratinocytes. In press with Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine

Shueb SS, Nixdorf DR, John MT, Alonso BF, Durham J. What is the impact of acute and chronic orofacial pain on quality of life? Journal of Dentistry (October) 2015;43(10):1203-1210.

Durham J, Nixdorf DR. Healthcare Pathway and Biopsychosocial Impact of Persistent Dentoalveolar Pain disorder (PDAP): A Qualitative Study. International Endodontic Journal (December) 2014;47(12):1151-1159.

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.

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.

Functional Imaging of Orofacial Pain

Moana-Filho EJ, Nixdorf DR, Bereiter DA. Amplified supraspinal processing of dentoalveolar pressure stimuli in atypical odontalgia. Journal Oral & Facial Pain and Headache (Fall) 2015;29(4):349-362.

Moana-Filho 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.

Dental MRI

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. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (July) 2014;72(1):160-165.

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.

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.

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 DOI: 10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1259.


Academic Interests and Focus

Dr. Nixdorf’s teaching interests align with his clinical interests, namely the diagnosis and management of chronic ororfacial pains. Specifically he lectures on the differential diagnosis of orofacial pains, classification of orofacial pain, and treatment approaches to orofacial pain management.


Board Certifications

  • Diplomate, American Dental Society of Anesthesiology (ADSA) 2004
  • Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP) 2002

Clinical Interests

Dr. Nixdorf’s clinical interests include the diagnosis and management of chronic ororfacial pains. This includes TMD pain and jaw dysfunction; 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.