Dental MRI

If you couldn’t tell from my last post on SWIFT MRI.  I am a huge fan of new and upcoming technology in dental imaging.  The latest paper I found discusses creating an occlusal coil that patients bite into to visualize teeth.  Here is the kicker… it works.  It is not amazing, but I do believe that with more research and more tweaking we might finally be on the brink of radiation free imaging.

A couple of notes:

  1. The article states that the teeth and roots are the only interesting structures to look at.  As a practicing GP and a radiologist, I think this statement is absolutely incorrect.  If you have the advantage of a radiation free system, I believe that grabbing the entire maxillofacial complex is necessary.  Anyone who has knowledge of TMJs, orthodontics, prosthodontics and so forth knows the importance of this.  If you want to do nothing more than fillings and ONLY fillings then this statement might be true.  For the 99% of practitioners out there who understand that there is more to the mouth than just teeth, I believe you will disagree with such a ridiculous notion.
  2. Remember that so far all of these are simply “proof of concept”.  This particular paper uses a 4T magnet.  That is a very high powered magnet and impractical to use in a dental office.  If enough research (and money) goes into this that they can bring down the size and the strength while increasing the FOV and resolution at the same time… I think you will finally see radiographs start getting replaced.

Here is an image from a live patient.  This is a slice.  Notice two things:  First, no contact overlap due to the method the image is acquired.  Second, decay is light instead of dark and its extend is much more easily estimated.  Look at #15 occlusal as an example.


Source: Intraoral Approach for Imaging Teeth Using the Transverse B1 Field Components of an Occlusally Oriented Loop Coil by Djaudat Idiyatullin.  Worth a read.


  1. Hi
    I am interested in the field of Oral radiology, but my concern is about finding job after graduation. I read ur website and it seems that it is difficult to find a job even for American let alone me who am international and need someone to support me in addition to giving job. I was wondering if u could give me more information about the field and job market and salary for OMF Radiologist.
    By the way, do u mind if I ask u where are u resident at?

  2. Hi Maryam,

    You can just post a question here in the comments section. I keep my email private. How can I help?

  3. Good question. This is probably the #1 question I receive. So far not much has changed. It seems that the job market for OMFR is very very tight right now, especially in the private practice sector. In fact some new graduates I know seem to agree that it is basically non-existent. In my opinion, and as I have stated before, this is a problem that stems from several factors that I have discussed in detail in previous posts. I would highly recommend doing some research on salaries. When I first started my understanding was about 180k and at some point, as reports increase, so will this number. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is even close to being realistic these days. In fact, there is no way I would be able to survive on radiology alone.

    It seems that currently there is a standstill in radiology. If we can get insurance companies to cover scans and reports, then a huge bottleneck will be removed. This is key in my opinion. In order for that to happen, I think stronger AAOMR guidelines will push dentists to ask their insurance companies to cover radiology. After all, every other aspect of radiology is covered, even on the medical side.

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