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Alumni Profile: Dr. Khaled Sinjab, MS in Periodontics, 2020 – Blending artistry and compassion into dentistry10 min read

June 25, 2024

Alumni Profile: Dr. Khaled Sinjab, MS in Periodontics, 2020 – Blending artistry and compassion into dentistry10 min read

This profile is one in an ongoing series highlighting School of Dentistry alumni, donors and students.


Dr. Khaled Sinjab wanted to learn more about dental implants when he approached the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 2015 about a fellowship in the Periodontics and Oral Medicine Department.

He was accepted for the one-year fellowship, but his stay in the periodontics department turned into a five-year educational journey. He liked what he learned during the initial fellowship, so he stayed a second year to perform research and work as a dental assistant. During that second year, he applied for and was accepted into the Graduate Periodontics residency, the three-year program that leads to a master’s degree in the specialty.

By the time he had earned his master’s degree in 2020, not only did he gain dental implant expertise, but more importantly he learned that he loved the artistry and precision of periodontics enough to make the specialty his career focus.

“During my fellowship, I noticed how delicate and artistic the procedures were,” he said. “It wasn’t just cut and sew. It was precise incisions, reattachment, and suturing – the micro version of surgery. You’re trying to keep your surgery as small as possible and grow back bone or tissue. It’s an art. When I saw how perio was not only surgery but an art form, that’s what got me really hooked.”

Dr. Khaled Sinjab

Today Dr. Sinjab is a periodontist practicing mainly at two clinics in Ann Arbor and Jackson, as well as occasionally at several other locations and community clinics. In addition, he has retained his ties with the School of Dentistry by serving as an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Periodontics clinic over the last several years. Initially he taught one day a week, then a half-day a week, but moved recently to one day a month because of his busy practice commitments and his family that has expanded to include a second child.

He said he continues to teach not only because it is rewarding to share the knowledge, but also because dentistry is a continual learning process. “I can’t let that part of my life go,” he said. “I get to go back to the department where I graduated to give back in one way or another. I want to make sure that if there is anything I can teach the residents, I am doing it, even if it’s just once a month.”

“And no matter how much I think I know, I’m always realizing I have a lot more to learn,” he said. “For example, I may observe a resident and another faculty member completing a procedure using a different technique or approach than I typically use.” It sometimes becomes an “aha moment” where he determines that he will expand his repertoire of techniques. He also likes the camaraderie of working with other faculty, where they can share cases and compare notes about best practices. “It’s heartwarming,” he says of his adjunct appointment. “I get to learn, teach and at the same time connect back with the place where I was a resident.”

It is also one of the ways Sinjab believes he is able to give back to the department and show his appreciation to his faculty and mentors. “I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my amazing parents and loving wife. I also wouldn’t be the dentist I am today without the training of my Michigan faculty.” He credits Dr. Hom-Lay Wang, director of the periodontics program, as a key mentor in his education and development as a periodontist. Their student-teacher relationship dates to the fellowship that Wang facilitated for Sinjab and continued throughout his time at the school, including today as an alumnus and adjunct. Beyond the technical expertise Sinjab gained in the periodontics department, he credits Wang and clinic coordinator Alicia Baker with another important aspect that influences his career daily – the importance of making patients comfortable.

Dr. Khaled Sinjab during his presentation at the Ramfjord pre-symposium in June.

Sinjab said he frequently was assigned patients who were scared of going to the dentist and needed more gentle care than most patients. During his residency, he was sometimes frustrated by the extra preparation required for those patients. “I didn’t realize until after I graduated that I was being trained to learn how to communicate and treat them,” he said. “So now, when I’m in practice, I take pride in what I do, not only in periodontics but in easing patients’ anxiety. I’ve made it a policy of mine that I always shake my patient’s hand at the start because I want to feel if they have sweaty palms because the body doesn’t lie. They might act tough on the outside, but if their palms are sweaty, they are anxious. This way I know how to approach them and talk to them in a manner that would make their visit more tolerable.”

Putting patients at ease is a challenge he now enjoys. “When they get up from the chair and they walk out and say, ‘wow, this is not what I expected’ or ‘I am so happy I had this procedure.’  That is what I take pride in. I was able to treat somebody who did not want to be treated or was not happy to be here. And is now more than happy to come back again.” 

“I never thought I would have the patience for it,” he adds. “I got molded to be the doctor I am today because of my faculty and mentors at the University of Michigan.”

Sinjab’s appreciation of the department and his time there has led him to sponsor informal dinners for the graduating residents to celebrate their accomplishments and reflect on how they have grown over the three years. He also continues to make financial gifts to the periodontics department’s research fund as a way to give back to the dental school.

Sinjab’s success has followed a fairly circuitous route in terms of his family life and education. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his family moved to Michigan when he was 10.  When he was 15, his family moved to the Middle East after his father started a company there. After high school, Khaled initially enrolled in medical school in Yemen, but soon decided it was not the career he wanted. Several of his friends were in dental school and he decided that would be a better choice, though initially he thought some of his friends’ dental school assignments were strange.

“I remember walking in on my friends in the dorm. They had an assignment to carve teeth out of a bar of soap, to show they knew the anatomy of the tooth. My reaction was: What? This is a joke! But I humored them a bit. And I found out I was happy working with my hands. I loved the art of the field. I think that was the first time I considered dentistry.”

He transferred his credits over to the dental school of the same university, graduating in 2010. He returned to the U.S. with the intent of furthering his education and practicing here. He was soon joined by his family after his youngest brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His brother was treated at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor. It was a difficult time for his family, but he says it drew the family closer as his brother went through chemotherapy and other treatments. “It made us stronger, got our family back together, and I am thankful that he is now in remission.”

Dr. Khaled Sinjab in the Graduate Periodontics Clinic at the School of Dentistry.

Over that five-year period after he returned to the U.S., from 2010-15, Sinjab took whatever job he could to cover his expenses, even if it wasn’t related to dentistry. He worked as a dental assistant for a couple of years and volunteered at a dental office in downtown Detroit, but he also worked as a coffee barista, in sales at LA Fitness, and at a Fossil watch store in Somerset Mall.

Sinjab’s push to continue expanding his dentistry knowledge led to pursuing and gaining the fellowship at the U-M dental school in 2015. From there, his energy and persistence has kept his career trajectory moving steadily upward as he completed his MS in periodontics and has since expanded the network of dental offices where he practices. While at the dental school, he received several foundation grants and has published several articles focusing on dental implant diseases and their management. His thesis project analyzed the bacteria found around dental implants. He is the president elect of the Bunting Periodontal Society for 2025 and a member of several study clubs and periodontology organizations. He is also a key speaker for Peak Implant Institute, providing lectures and hands-on training for dentists wanting to learn more about dental implant surgery in the state of Michigan.

This spring, he was invited to be one of the speakers at the dental school’s 14th biennial Ramjford Symposium, which brings together internationally renowned speakers who have expertise in long-term periodontal care and emerging scientifically based treatments. Sinjab’s first-day presentation at the pre-symposium, “Platelet Rich Fibrin Updates,” described his work with the use of blood samples from the patient to promote healing after dental surgery. The blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, which are then placed into the surgical area to promote and potentially enhance the body’s tissue repair and healing mechanisms.

“I am glad I got to specialize in periodontics instead of becoming a medical doctor,” Sinjab says. “I get to enjoy this field and focus my knowledge in one particular area and aim to excel in it instead of learning the entire human body. Because I’d rather be ‘really good’ at one thing than to be just ‘good’ in more than one thing.”


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral healthcare education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at [email protected], or (734) 615-1971.