For information regarding research, please refer to the Duke University Office of Health Professions Advising:
It is important to note that research is an OPTIONAL extracurricular activity. Dental schools do NOT require research for admission, however performing research will often make applicants more competitive, especially for those schools with large research programs.
Research topics do not have to be related at all to the basic sciences. Research in dance, music theory, food chemistry, religion, etc. are all extremely valuable and worthwhile endeavors. No matter what you research, you should be able to speak passionately about it when you go to your dental school interviews.