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Video introduction (7:58 min.)

What information should dental patient records contain and how should it be structured? The Dental Information Model (DIM) project is an initiative intended to address this question. Our objective is to design an open reference standard for the content and structure of dental records. This standard can be used by dentists, software developers and others to design implementations of dental records. (What is an information model?)

  • Patient record forms
  • Database design
  • User interface design
  • Data interchange
  • National Health Information Infrastructure/
    Health Information Exchange
  • Research
  • Dentists
  • IT developers
  • Educators
  • Researchers
  • Standards developers
Work with us

We are looking for people interested in helping us develop the information model further! If you could help us, please contact us.

DIM Statistics:

The DIM represents a comprehensive, hierarchical structure with a maximum depth of five levels. A total 986 information items/data elements are organised under 20 main information categories and 43 subcategories representing a total of of 155 classes. The two primary types of relationships used in DIM are Generalization and Referencing. The entire DIM is represented under 63 Subjects Areas.


Dental Information Model Version 1.0 (120110) (Excel, 27.5 MB)

Type of project:


Involved Persons:

Project Leader(s): Amit Acharya (Biomedical Informatics Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation), Titus Schleyer (Center for Dental informatics, University of Pittsburgh)
Other involved People: Brian Butler, Mei Song, Thankam Thyvalikakath, Pedro Hernandez, Miguel Humberto Torres-Urquidy and Teena Wali.


Is the project funded? Yes
Sponsoring agency We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) through grant award 1R21DE019683-01A2.

Other information:

Duration of project: 2 Years
  1. Schleyer TK, Spallek H, Hernández P, A Qualitative Investigation of the Content of Dental Paper- and Computer-Based Patient Record (CPR) Formats, J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007;14:515–526. PMID: 17460133, PMCID: PMC2244908 | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike
  2. Torres-Urquidy MH, Acharya A, Hernandez P, Misner J and Schleyer TK. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Modeling Principles for Data Models. Stud Health Technol Inform 2009; 143:525-533. PMID: 19380987, PMCID: PMC2736630 | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike
  3. Acharya A, Mital DP, Schleyer TK, Electronic dental record information model. International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics. 2009;1(4):418-34. | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  4. Acharya A, Wali T, Thyvalikakath TP, Schleyer TK, Evaluation of dental patient record's content: preliminary results. Advances in Health Informatics Conference 2010: The Realities of eHealth (AHIC 2010). 2010 Apr 28-30; University of Waterloo, Kitchener, Ontario. In press.
  1. Acharya A, Wali T, Thyvalikakath TP and Schleyer TK. Content review of dental records: a pilot study. J Dent Educ . 2008; 72(2): 195-240; Abstract
  2. Wali T, Acharya A, Thyvalikakath TP and Schleyer TK. Comparative study of reviewing patient records: preliminary results. J Dent Res 87(Spec Iss A):0417, 2008 (www.dentalresearch.org); | Abstract
  3. Acharya A, Hernandez P, Thyvalikakath TP and Schleyer TK. Development of a Comprehensive Data Set of Information Items for General Dental Record. J Dent Educ. 2010; 74: 149-210; | Abstract
  4. Acharya A, Thyvalikakath TP, Schleyer TK, Feasibility of Delphi methodology to validate dental information items. J Dent Res 89(Spec Iss A):0517, 2010 (www.dentalresearch.org); | Abstract
  5. Acharya A, Thyvalikakath TP, Schleyer TK, Conceptual Clinical Information Model for a General Dental Record, AMIA 2010 Annual Symposium Proceedings, Pg 959; Abstract
Dissertation: Acharya A, Developing an Electronic Dental Record Information Model for General Dentistry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, NJ, USA, 2010; | Abstract
Other related literature:
  1. Ireland RS, Jenner AM, Williams MJ, Tickle M. A clinical minimum data set for primary dental care. British Dental Journal. 2001;190:663-667. PMID: 11453156 | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  2. American Dental Association. The dental patient record: structure and function guidelines. Chicago: American Dental Association; 1987.
  3. Gordon TJ. The Delphi method. In: Glenn JC, editor. Futures research methodology. Washington, D.C.: American Council for the United Nations University; 1994.
  4. Rector AL, Johnson PD, Tu S, Wroe C, Roger J. Interface of inference models with concept and medical record models. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2001;2101/2001:314-323. | Abstract | PDF
  5. Rector AL, Rogers J, Taweel A. Models and inference methods for clinical systems: a principled approach. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2004;107(Pt 1):79-83. PMID: 15360779 | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  6. Rector AL. The interface between information, terminology, and inference models. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2001;10(Pt 1):246-250. PMID: 11604742 | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  7. Thuraisingham B, Venkataraman V. A new view of information modeling: a bridge between data and information. Information Systems Management. 1992;9(2):29-36.
  8. Qamar R, Kola J, Rector AL. Unambiguous data modeling to ensure higher accuracy term binding to clinical terminologies. AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings. 2007;608-613. PMID: 18693908 | PMCID: PMC2655827 | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike
  9. ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. Specification No. 1000: Standard clinical data architecture for the structure and content of an electronic health record. Chicago: American Dental Association; 2001. Abstract
  10. ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. Proposed ANSI/ ADA Specification No. 1039: Standard Clinical Conceptual Data Model. Chicago: American Dental Association; 2006. Abstract
  11. ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. Proposed ANSI/ ADA Specification No. 1040: dental extension to the ASTM Continuity of Care Record. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association; 2008. Abstract
  12. Humphreys BL, McCray AT, Cheh ML. Evaluating the coverage of controlled health data terminologies: report on the results of the NLM/AHCPR large scale vocabulary test. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike
  13. Schleyer TK, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Torres-Urquidy MH, Hernandez P, Yuhaniak J. Clinical computing in general dentistry. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2006;13(3):344-352. PMID: 16501177 | PMCID: PMC1513654 | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike
  14. Schleyer T, Eisner J. The computer-based oral health record: a essential tool for cross-provider quality management. Journal of the Californian Dental Association. 1994;22(11):57-8, 60-1, 63-4. PMID: 7760162 | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  15. Heid DW, Chasteen J, Forrey AW. The electronic oral health record. Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. 2002;3(1)43-54. PMID: 12167912 | Abstract | Download Citation: CiteULike
  16. Fettanti JM, Musser RC, Kawamoto K, Hammond We. The clinical document architecture and the continuity of care record: a critical analysis. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2006;13(3):245-252. PMID: 16501180 | PMCID: PMC1513652 | Abstract | PDF | Download Citation: CiteULike

DIOC user:

amit acharya (34 star_turquoise), Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Amit Acharya's interests: digital imaging/image processing, clinical decision support, educational technology, practice management, computer-based patient records, patients and computers/consumer health informatics, implementation/maintenance of IT, evidence-based dentistry/electronic information resources, research methods, library information sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, Electronic Dental Records Information Model, Standards Development


arden forrey (23 ), 03/6/2012:
I would like to point out that this Information model should complement the ADA 1067 of ADA's SCDI now in process. The Functions of 1067 should be related to the EOHR attributes already documented for EHRs but harmonized to a "Common Data Model" applicable and interoperable across all health specialty disciplines. This can be done via work through ADA SCDI and the national coordination of health informatics standards.
arden forrey (23 ), 01/29/2010:
This comment is to emphasize the synergy of this project to the Clinical Data Integration, the Curriculum Management and the Terminology DIOC Projects in leading to an implemented, relevent and a practitioner cognitive supporting oral health view of the Health Information Domain that has acive support of Industry Suppliers. The product of this project should be a "Common EHR Model" that has harmonized status within the ANSI HITSP Harmonization Subcommittee of the HITSP Fuundations Committee. This project should actively collaborate with the ADA SCDI in aligning its work with the health informatics activities. This alignment will enable work with all other health specialty disciplines organizations and with Industry. This alignment will enable direct linkage of the products of this project with ADEA and utilization of the products from the Currriculum Management Tools Project as well as cross-discipline education. It will make this project a key example for the healthcare community of the scope and impact of informtion science and technology for healthcare.
arden forrey (23 ), 08/17/2009:
Amit, Bill:
I am interested to hear how DIOC might be a key vehicle in EHR education from Oral Health to healthcare in general.
amit acharya (34 ), 06/13/2009:
Hi Bill, to answer both your questions in short there has been no co-ordination with either organizations as of now. But I would be very interested to know more details about these projects. Thanks!

Bill Karitis (7 ), 01/6/2009:
Has there been any connection with the work accomplished by the Department of Defense, in coordination with 3M, on their Dental Information Model? Additionally, is there any coordination with people working on the Clinical LOINC, such as Stan Huff in Utah?


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