The development of a dental diagnostic terminology

Elsbeth Kalenderian, Rachel L. Ramoni, Joel M. White, Meta E. Schoonheim-Klein, Paul C. Stark, Nicole S. Kimmes, Gregory G. Zeller, George P. Willis, Muhammad F. Walji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is no commonly accepted standardized terminology for oral diagnoses. The purpose of this article is to report the development of a standardized dental diagnostic terminology by a work group of dental faculty members. The work group developed guiding principles for decision making and adhered to principles of terminology development. The members used an iterative process to develop a terminology incorporating concepts represented in the Toronto/University of California, San Francisco/Creighton University and International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9/10 codes and periodontal and endodontic diagnoses. Domain experts were consulted to develop a final list of diagnostic terms. A structure was developed, consisting of thirteen categories, seventy-eight subcategories, and 1,158 diagnostic terms, hierarchically organized and mappable to other terminologies and ontologies. Use of this standardized diagnostic terminology will reinforce the diagnosis-treatment link and will facilitate clinical research, quality assurance, and patient communication. Future work will focus on implementation and approaches to enhance the validity and reliability of diagnostic term utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Dental education
  • Dental research
  • Dentistry
  • Diagnostic codes
  • Diagnostic terminology
  • Terminology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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