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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 227-228

Me and my future as an Oral Medicine, Diagnosis, and Radiology specialist

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Bapuji Dental College, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication13-Dec-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashok Lingappa
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Bapuji Dental College, Davangere, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-1363.195651

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How to cite this article:
Bachani L, Lingappa A. Me and my future as an Oral Medicine, Diagnosis, and Radiology specialist. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2016;28:227-8

How to cite this URL:
Bachani L, Lingappa A. Me and my future as an Oral Medicine, Diagnosis, and Radiology specialist. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Nov 28];28:227-8. Available from: http://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2016/28/3/227/195651

As Hippocrates once said, “Healing is a matter of time but also sometimes a matter of opportunity.” As a dentist or an oral health expert, we are blessed with the opportunity of providing a healing touch to a million lives in a zillion ways, and being an Oral Medicine, Diagnosis and Radiology (OMDR) specialist adds wings to that dream. Oral medicine is the specialty concerned with “dental” and medical related disorders of the oral and facial region, including orofacial manifestations of systemic diseases. As defined by the American Dental Association, “Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.”

The cornerstone of any healthcare expertise is the ability to diagnose. Diagnosis and a holistic treatment plan play a yeoman's role in providing relief to an ailing patient. If diagnosis is the key to unlock the labyrinth of hydra headed diseases, then OMDR is the master key. So that brings an OMDR specialist at the helm of treatment. The advent of modern clinical research in oral medicine and advancements in the field of radiodiagnostics has heralded a new era in dentistry thereby widening its horizons way beyond one can imagine. That is what empowers and equips us as an OMDR specialist.

In our country, unfortunately oral healthcare has remained a gray patch for a long time. When asked about the status of oral healthcare once, a policy expert retorted that, “A country where people do not have food to eat, how the teeth will be spoilt.” Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss in this case. India is a country with one of the highest number of tobacco and gutkha chewers. India is a country where 40% of world's smokers live. Consequently, India is inflicted badly by oral diseases such as the satanic oral cancer, oral submucous fibrosis, leukoplakia, to name a few. So, an indifferent attitude will lead to doom. We as oral physicians can address this alarming situation of oral health in our country.

As an OMDR specialist, we can work in primary health centers too, which is one of the best possible avenues to serve the people at the grassroots level and in the remotest of geographies. The trickledown effect of the expertise of an OMDR specialist working as a counsellor and consultant can act as a savior of countless lives that are lost every year due to lack of awareness. Early detection would not only improve cure rate but would also lower the cost and morbidity associated with treatment. That makes the job of an OMDR specialist an indispensable one. OMDR specialists form a very important part of every government healthcare setup. Similarly, in the private sector, the multispecialty and superspecialty hospitals take pride in having an OMDR specialist as a permanent faculty.

Hence, being at the forefront of the field of dentistry, the specialty provides an OMDR specialist an array of opportunities in myriad avenues. Be it the government sector or private sector, you name it and there comes the important role of an OMDR specialist. Beginning with the realm of job opportunities available in the government sector, a fresher in this field working under the central or state government has a fairly good remuneration of more than Rs. 40000. As the experience increases the person climbs the ladder both in rank and file. Another good avenue is the job of dentist in the armed forces. It can be joined through two modes, namely, SSC (Short Service Commission) or DPC (Direct Permanent Commission). One joins as a Captain in the Indian army with all the facilities and perks of an officer along with all the responsibilities and commitments involved in the organization.

Similarly, banks and other public sector units including railways empanel permanent dentists on their roll. Here comes the role of a very important government agency, ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation), which appoints dentists for examination and diagnosis of patients with oral conditions, so that the patient can be reimbursed for the treatment. Equally good number of opportunities abound in the dental education arena like government and private dental colleges, if one has an aptitude to get into academics. OMDR specialists impart training with emphasis on problem-based and case-based learning. The job as a teaching faculty provides both experience and exposure.

Like the government sector, private sector has its own advantages. If one has an inclination towards entrepreneurship, one can start his own private practice and can equip his/her setup depending upon the finances available. Some OMDR specialists affiliate with radiology practices that offer a wide range of procedures such as nuclear medicine and ultrasound. Some radiologists opt for a home-based private practice, relying on the technology of the internet to relay patient scans and reports to and from remote locations. Referral of patients for radiographic evaluations and diagnostic consultations has become more and more common in intramural radiology practices.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so is research. An OMDR specialist can also play a vital role in clinical research. The oral cancer foundation is a typical example, which employs world-class OMDR specialists on its consultant panel. As an OMDR specialist one can also join the coveted World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to providing opportunities to work in different countries, it provides a very enriching experience and a conducive work environment. Talking in global terms, countries such as the US, UK, and middle Eastern countries, also welcome the trained OMDR experts with open hands. However, one must obtain additional dental education to get the licensure. One has to pass a clinical licensing examination administered by a state or regional clinical testing agency.

Innovation and breaking the barriers can change the rules of any game. Evolution of pain clinics is a big example of the same. A pain clinic is a health care facility that focuses on the diagnosis and management of chronic pain through a multidisciplinary approach. Forensic odontology is another relatively new and uncharted territory for India. These are few of the upcoming promising fields for an OMDR specialist, which should be explored further.

As Charaka said, health of the body starts with the health of mouth. So dental health is of paramount importance. An OMDR specialist can play a vital role in shaping the action plan of fighting oral diseases and hence an OMDR specialist must be given his due by giving incentives and increasing job opportunities. Even the team of radiation oncology must necessarily include an OMDR specialist to counter the after effects of radiation. In this manner, an OMDR specialist can bring about a big change in the fabric of overall healthcare of our country.


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