oral radiology textbook cover detail

UofT Dentistry textbook legacy continues

Oral Radiology: Principles and Interpretation is a flagship textbook for DDS students in North America. With the recent release of the eighth edition, the seminal textbook continues its tradition of excellence — and UofT Dentistry authorship — with a new author: UofT Dentistry’s own associate dean, graduate education and graduate specialty program director in oral and maxillofacial radiology, Ernest Lam.

Lam authored the image interpretation section of the textbook, just like his predecessor before him: professor emeritus Michael Pharaoh, who co-authored the previous four editions. While Pharaoh was editor, the textbook was also translated into several languages.

Now in its 36th year of continuous publication, the textbook is widely utilized by DDS programs across North America. It has also become a staple for graduate radiology programs, such as that at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Iowa and University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio.

“Image interpretation has been an admitted strength of our program,” says Lam. “A lot of people in the U.S. talk about how, if you’re interested in the diagnostic side, you go to UofT.”

“Image interpretation has been an admitted strength of our program," says Lam. 

He cites the particular history of oral radiology in Canada as a reason why the UofT contributions to the textbook are so important.                                                                                           

“A father of this program, Dr. Harry Worth, came from a medical background,” says Lam. With dental and medical degrees, and specialty training in medical radiology, Worth came to Toronto from Britain in 1940, when he was asked to help train 70 air force radiologists. Attached to the dental faculty, he worked with Dr. Guy Poyton to set up the first oral radiology program in Canada. That program was set up in 1965. In fact, UofT has a proven track record of excellence in this specialty; according to Lam, for the past 13 years all UofT students taking the U.S. Board exams have passed. “It’s a huge testament to the quality of this program,” says Lam.

oral radiology full cover

For the textbook, Lam was able to draw upon hundreds of images from UofT Dentistry’s teaching collection, amassed over decades. “I think radiology is really an experiential speciality, like oral pathology,” he says. And while a textbook can only teach so much, “The experience of seeing disease in its many forms gives students a really good starting point and understanding of disease.”

Lam co-authored on the principles section of the textbook with Sanjya Mallya, from UCLA, originally authored by Mallya’s colleague from UCLA, Stuart White. The textbook, published by Elsevier, is available in December.


Above and inset: cover of Oral Radiology, courtesy E. Lam