Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): Oral Medicine
Oral medicine is a branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and management of diseases and conditions that affect the oral and maxillofacial region. This includes the mouth, jaws, and related structures. Oral medicine specialists (oral medicine and oral pathology) are dental specialists who have completed additional training and education in this field.
Some common conditions and diseases that oral medicine specialists may manage include:
Oral cancer: Oral medicine specialists are trained to recognize and diagnose oral cancer, and to provide appropriate treatment and follow-up care.
Oral infections: These specialists may treat and manage oral infections, such as thrush (oral candidiasis) and periodontal (gum) diseases.
Oral manifestations of systemic diseases: Oral medicine specialists are trained to recognize and manage oral symptoms that may be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, HIV, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: These specialists may diagnose and manage disorders of the jaw joint and related muscles, such as TMJ dysfunction and bruxism (teeth grinding).
Oral mucosal diseases: These specialists may manage diseases and conditions that affect the lining of the mouth, such as leukoplakia, erythroplakia, and lichen planus.
Dry mouth (xerostomia): They manage dry mouth, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including medications, radiation therapy, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Oral medicine specialists work closely with other dental specialists, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and orthodontists, as well as with medical specialists in fields such as oncology, endocrinology, and rheumatology to provide comprehensive care for patients.
Overall oral medicine plays a crucial role in healthcare as it helps in identifying oral diseases and conditions early on, that would otherwise go unnoticed, and providing appropriate treatment or management that can help prevent complications and promote overall health.