Serious oral health concerns can be painful and cause dysfunction in the jaw, mouth, and face. These issues need to be addressed, and an oral medical professional is the most qualified individual to do so. Oral medicine is a specialty in the dental industry that focuses on addressing complications in patients with these kinds of concerns. These complications can result from hereditary conditions, behavioral patterns, or their dental and medical history. Oral medicine professionals focus on evaluating patients and providing non-surgical treatment options.
What Oral Medicine Practitioners Treat
Oral medicine professionals address a broad range of oral health concerns, including ulcers, canker sores, nerve pain, and certain kinds of oral cancer. A visit to an oral medicine specialist starts with a physical exam and a medical history being taken. You’ll discuss any concerns you may face, and that may call for dental imaging. The specific details of your intake will depend on the severity and duration of your current symptoms. Some conditions treated by oral medical professionals include:
- TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder
- Neurological chronic pain in the orofacial joints and nerves
- Sleep apnea
- Issues with the salivary glands
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding, such as with bruxism
- Other oral diseases and medical complications
While some conditions that oral medical professionals treat are commonly treated with surgery, other options are often available. These specialists may offer less-invasive methods that can help recover or reduce pain caused by current health concerns. Some of these treatment methods may be performed at home. These can include changing eating habits, oral exercises or stretches daily, and thermotherapy (hot or cold application). Those experiencing issues originating with the salivary gland or who have chronic dry mouth may have rinses recommended. Your dentist may also direct you to use orthodontic appliances such as night guards or sleep apnea devices.
Those who suffer from any form of oral dysfunction or who are experiencing pain in the craniofacial area may benefit from a visit to an oral medicine specialist. These specialists can provide meaningful relief from concerns such as bruxism, TMJ, or other common painful problems. They specialize in creating customized oral health treatment plans that minimize the number of invasive treatments involved.
Work Closely With Your Full Suite Of Medical Professionals
It’s important to keep your health team communicating when looking after your oral health and your full body wellness. Conditions treated by oral medical professionals often include multiple areas of the body and can benefit from multidisciplinary care. This means you’ll want to ensure that your dentist has your latest medical information in their files.
Schedule a consultation with your oral health care team today, and talk to them about communicating with your other care providers. Together they’ll help identify health concerns, starting with those that involve your oral health. Good health is a full spectrum, full-time job. Start by talking to your specialists and getting them to talk to each other.