Specialists in oral medicine are concerned with the health of, generally, the soft tissues of the mouth. For example they will look after:
- People with frequent or very painful mouth ulcers
- People with dermatological conditions affecting their mouth
- People with oral pain
- People who have very dry mouths
- People who need a biopsy of their mouth to check for cancer
Being Referred to Oral Medicine
A referral will be made by your dentist or your doctor and they will explain the reasons for the referral to you. Please note that at your oral medicine appointment you might have some additional tests undertaken, for example blood tests.
There are many causes for this – and most of us will have had an ulcer as a result of trauma, perhaps we have accidentally bitten ourselves, or even from a rough piece of toast in the morning!
You should however see your dentist if you have an ulcer that will not heal or has been present for more than three weeks.
If you feel your mouth is dry you should see your doctor or dentist, especially if you are taking medications prescribed by your doctor.
If you don’t have enough saliva this can cause problems with eating, tasting and speaking and can also increase your risk of dental decay.
Patients with dry mouths can find toothpaste uncomfortable and too strong in taste – there are a range of products that can help. Its important that you dont use sweets or candies to try and stimulate saliva – these will put your teeth at risk.
All specialists in oral medicine are registered with the GDC – and many will also be registered with the GMC as they may be dual qualified. Oral Medicine specialists will have undertaken at least five years additional training and are highly specialised and work closely with oral pathologists and oral radiologists. Dentists have to undertake continuing education and ensure that they are up to date.
Ulcer – a break in the skin – oral ulceration can be caused by many things – most often trauma
GMC – general medical council that registers doctors in the United Kingdom
Biopsy – a surgical procedure to remove a small piece of tissue that will be examined to see what has caused the lesion or problem
Xerosomia – the sensation of having a dry mouth