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Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology


The science of oral and maxillofacial radiology is based on the principles of physics, chemistry and biology. Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the dentistry branch that interprets radiographic (x-rays) images performed for the diagnosis of conditions, disorders and diseases within the maxillofacial (mouth, jaw and neck) region.

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists are required to graduate from a four year dental school program, and complete a CODA accredited residency set by the American Dental Association. They are trained with specialized equipment and knowledge on techniques for maxillofacial CT, CBCT, MRI, ultrasound and other modalities. They are also trained on all aspects of radiation physics, radiation biology, radiation safety, radiologic technique, the patho-physiology of disease and the interpretation of diagnostic images through hospital rotations, classroom coursework and other forms of direct communication.

You can find an oral and maxillofacial radiologist in a laboratory or in a medical or dental facility. They are highly specialized and qualified to work in any facility they choose and are much more qualified, trusted and respected over radiology technicians that dentists tend to employ. They work will problems that are genetic in nature or are caused by some sort of trauma or injury. Their roll is to provide all forms of imagining technology to a patient and to minimize any unnecessary exposure to radiation that may occur.

Am I a Candidate for an Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist?

Here are a few questions that may or may not suggest you should see an oral and maxillofacial radiologist:

  • Are you susceptible to diseases within the maxillofacial region?
  • Do you have a disease within the maxillofacial region and need an expert to interpret radiographic results?
  • Do you have pain in your mouth and neck areas?
  • Do you want a second, expert opinion about imaging results?

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists completely understand radiographic images (x-rays), and are usually willing to sit down with a patient for a consultation. Many times, the radiologist will want to take their own x-rays, especially since they work with more advanced technology and equipment. If you’re not sure about results, you can always ask your general dentist or family dentist for a referral to an oral and maxillofacial radiologist.

Page updated February 2011



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