Maxillofacial radiologists need to speak up

2008 10 24 12 13 18 415 Edwin Parks Thumb

Editor's note: Edwin T. Parks' column, Talking Pictures, appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

When speaking to a group of course participants during the Greater New York Dental meeting recently, I was told that their office had a fancy new panoramic machine. Upon further questioning, it became apparent that the fancy new machine was a cone-beam CT unit.

I then asked the question that any oral and maxillofacial radiologist would ask: "Who is reading your scans?" The doctor in the office was reading the scans, and the staff was sure the doc was competent to do so.

My first thought was, why would any clinician devote the time to reading all the scans? Why would the clinician want to assume the liability? Why not have an oral and maxillofacial radiologist read the scans?

There are several reasons, but the most important is that many clinicians do not value the services offered by an oral and maxillofacial radiologist. Whose fault is that? It's the fault of the oral and maxillofacial radiologist. We (as a specialty) have not done a very good job of demonstrating our utility, much less marketing our skills.

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists devote at least two years of postgraduate study to imaging and interpretation. The board examination takes two days -- roughly the amount of lecture hours regarding radiology in the undergraduate curriculum in radiology (at my institution). There is no question that we have the training, yet we've allowed ourselves to be seen as the person that teaches you how to push the button or open up a contact on a bitewing.

So our work is cut out for us. We need to demonstrate the added value oral and maxillofacial radiologists can bring to the table -- or dental chair, as it were.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2009

Page 1 of 112
Next Page