To assess the actual state of oral and maxillofacial radiology departments in US and Canadian dental schools against the ideal characteristics defined by the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR) 1997 position paper.
Cross-sectional survey of all 65 US and Canadian dental schools.
Sixty-four surveys were returned (98%). At most schools, oral and maxillofacial radiology (OMR) was an identifiable division of a department, established policies, and had operational authority for radiographic practices in the primary radiology clinic. The majority of full-time faculty (72%) had formal training in OMR; the majority of part-time faculty (86%) did not. Full-time faculty spent approximately 60% of their time teaching, with the remainder of their time divided among research and scholarship, faculty practice, and service. Routine x-ray equipment was universally available; advanced imaging technologies were not. OMR faculty involvement in the interpretation of radiographs varied across diseases and conditions. Most published scholarship (85%+) was produced by full-time faculty. Average output was 1 paper per person per year, but a relatively small cadre of OMR faculty generated most papers.
In some attributes, the status of OMR closely approximated the ideal characteristics established in the AAOMR report. Among the remaining attributes, bridging the difference between the actual and the ideal will be the challenge for the next 5 years.