Demographics and referral patterns of a university-based oral maxillofacial radiology clinic over a 20 year period

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Objective.The aim of this study was to review the referral patterns, distribution of interpretations, and type of diagnostic imaging used in a university based oral maxillofacial radiology clinic for patients referred for consultation from both dental and nondental clinicians.Study Design.The database of the Special Procedures clinic in the oral radiology department of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry, containing over 5000 entries, from 1993 to 2013, was queried. Using descriptive categorical analysis, the results were analyzed to describe patient demographic characteristics, the specialty of the referring clinicians, the imaging modalities used, and the interpretation provided.Results.Most referrals were from oral and maxillofacial surgeons and general dentists. Approximately 25% of referrals were interpreted as variations of normal anatomic structures. The most common reasons for referral were intraosseous lesions (42%), temporomandibular joints (39%), and sialography. Ten percent of all referrals were for recall examinations. The distribution of image modalities has changed through the years covered by this study.Conclusions.This study reflects a lower proportion of referrals reported as normal structures and their variations, than reported in a previous comparable study.

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