Trigeminal Foundation

Nerve Injuries

Helping to prevent, educate and manage

Prof Tara Renton, Project Director

Tara Renton (Specialist in Oral Surgery) is a dentist with a particular interest in trigeminal nerve injuries and pain. After completing her Oral and Maxillofacial surgical training in Melbourne Tara undertook a PhD in Trigeminal nerve injury at KCL 1999-2003. She was later appointed Senior Lecturer at QMUL and then was awarded her chair in 2006 at Kings College London.

Over the past 3 years Tara has developed a National clinical service for patients with trigeminal nerve injuries and orofacial pain. She leads the teaching of over 500 dental students for each year (BDS 3, 4 and 5). She has also established an academic training programme which now has 8 Oral Surgery SpRs of which 3 are undertaking PhD. She supervises 2 other PhD students working on pain collaboration with Wolfson Institute (KCL), Peripheral neuropathy Unit (Imperial College) and Centre of Neuroscience Imaging (IoP KCL). Through these collaborations we have established an international leading programme of trigeminal pain research and education.

Tara has over 50 peer reviewed publications and is Editor of BDJ books in Oral Surgery and Local anaesthesia and a Dental update book on Pain. Tara is the National advisor for Oral Surgery, she is a council member for BAOS and is an elected member of the RCS England Dental Faculty Committee.


Dr. Zehra Yilmaz

 Dr. Zehra Yilmaz has an undergraduate honours degree background in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Westminster (2003). She pursued her interest in research by studying for her post-graduate Masters degree in Experimental Oral Pathology at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL). Upon completion of her Masters course in 2004, she won a place to read for her Ph.D. in the field of Oral Medicine at QMUL. Her Ph.D. involved novel translational research on pain within the oral mucosa (namely Burning Mouth Syndrome – BMS, and iatrogenic trigeminal nerve injury). After defending her thesis on the “Expression and functionality of pain receptors in healthy and painful oral mucosa” in 2008, she was appointed the post of post-doctorate research assistant within the Oral Surgery Department at King’s College London (KCL).

During her time at KCL, Zehra has been responsible for collecting and analysing clinical data through various questionnaires and proformas from patients with iatrogenic trigeminal nerve injuries and general orofacial pain conditions. Much of this work has lead to the preparation of papers for publication, as well as presenting at national and international conferences. She was recently awarded a ‘best poster presentation’ prize at the British Pain Society Conference in Liverpool, which adds to her award for ‘best oral presentation’ at the International ACBID Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Conference in 2009. Zehra is also involved in the recruitment of patients to portfolio studies and coordinating clinical trials within KCL Dental Institute. She has supervised, and is currently supervising, undergraduate and post-graduate projects. Zehra helped with the design of the proforma for collecting clinical data evident in this website.


Dr. Sarah Barker

 Dr. Sarah Barker is an experienced Consultant Clinical Psychologist, who has worked for over 19 years in the NHS and private practice. She is a registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health Professions Council, and is an active member of the British Psychological Society, the Division of Clinical Psychology, the Faculty of Clinical Health Psychology and the British Pain Society. She holds NHS posts at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, and Kings College Hospital, working with pain patients and dental patients respectively.

Within Oral Surgery, Sarah is developing cognitive behaviour therapy for facial pain patients, and is embarking on qualitative research to evaluate the impact of iatrogenic nerve injury in more depth. Her decade of clinical and managerial experience in outpatient and residential pain management has been utilised to develop a multidisciplinary day workshop for trigeminal nerve injury patients.

She has an integrative approach to psychological therapy, and has completed additional training in CBT and systemic therapy. She has undertaken Level I and II training in EMDR and finds this a useful tool in addressing the trauma that can be a factor in having a chronic condition. She has become increasingly interested in Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and has published on narrative approaches, chronic pain and chronic illness.


Dr Lisa Page MRCPsych MSc PhD

 Dr Lisa Page is a consultant liaison psychiatrist with an interest in the emotional consequences of trigeminal (dental) nerve injury. Lisa has been working part-time within the King’s Dental Hospital since 2009 and a substantial workload  seeing people who have sustained a dental nerve injury.

Lisa trained in medicine and then specialised in psychiatry as a post-graduate. She has worked in clinical liaison psychiatry for over 10 years and for many years was a clinical lecturer in liaison psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Her other clinical interests include the management of unexplained physical symptoms, trauma and public health.


Leigh Ann Morgan 

 Leigh Ann Morgan was awarded her BChD at University of Pretoria South Africa in June 1997, She worked in the UK t as an associate in an NHS General Dental Practice in Aberdeen, Scotland. In February 1999, Leigh worked at Aberdeen Royal Infirmiry Maxillo-Facial and Oral surgery unit, doing trauma, elective wisdom tooth removals under LA and GA, assisting in head and neck cancer surgery, and doing orthognatic (jaw repositioning) surgery. In November 2000, Leigh obtained her MFDS through the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

From 2002 onwards Leigh was involved with Implant dentistry in the UK and Israel.

In 2010 Leigh started herown practice in NW London with a special interest in Implant surgery. Later that year Leigh started as a clinical teacher in the Department of Oral Surgery at Kings College London, working with Prof Tara Renton in the Nerve Injury Clinic and startied two large research projects.


Dr Jared G Smith (BA, PhD), Research Fellow, Mental Health 

Dr Smith is a New Zealander with a PhD in Psychology from Victoria University of Wellington. A health psychologist by background, Jared specialises in health services research design and statistical analysis. His research interests concern the provision of evidence-based healthcare for clinical populations in the form of successful treatments and rehabilitation methods. Specific interests include psychosocial aspects of palliative care and rehabilitation for chronic conditions.

Jared’s previous work has concerned research investigating cognitive and motor rehabilitation in patients with Parkinson’s disease. More recently, he worked as a Research Fellow for the Pain Services in Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, investigating the benefits of pain management approaches for patients with chronic pain with respect to surgical outcome, mental health and quality of life. Presently, he works in the Section of Mental Health at St George’s, University of London. His role focuses on supporting the development of a focussed body of research on mental health and long term conditions, and he collaborates with staff in Pain clinics at both St George’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

Jared has recently begun working with the Oral Surgery team at King’s College London Dental Institute, helping to identify the psychosocial burden of orofacial pain, particularly trigeminal nerve injury, and the best ways of providing support for people suffering from orofacial pain. He is looking to extend this work with various clinicians at Kings’ College Hospital by preparing a multi-surgical specialty bid for risk factor evaluation for development of post-surgical chronic pain.