Your family dentist conducts a complete exam of your mouth whenever you get your teeth cleaned. This exam often includes X-rays, along with a visual and tactile exam of your teeth and mucosa. The dentist may find one or more lesions in your mouth—or you may be experiencing head or neck pains with no related injury. Under such circumstances, your dentist may suggest you visit a specialist in oral medicine.
Oral medicine is a dental specialty drawing primarily on diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of mouth diseases, diagnoses and treatment of patients suffering from chronic facial pain and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs). A specialist in oral medicine may also advise a dental generalist on precautions to take in treating patients with complex medical conditions, patients who have undergone special therapies and those being treated for cancer. Oral medicine specialists in Quebec see patients in their offices, hospitals and university clinics.
Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the dental specialty concerned with the nature, clinical and microscopic diagnosis, management and primarily non-surgical treatment of oral disorders. Oral pathologists conduct microscopic examinations of tissues taken from the mouth. These exams can identify the source of a lesion or disease, determine its prognosis and treat it accordingly. Oral and maxillofacial pathologists see patients and may also examine tissue samples (biopsies) prepared in university clinics (Université Laval, Université de Montréal and McGill University).
While oral medicine specialists and oral and maxillofacial pathology specialists have different fields of interest and areas of expertise, they also share many points in common. Both begin by reconstructing the patient’s medical and dental history, conducting a detailed examination and using such diagnostic methods as biopsies, blood tests and imaging techniques.
Oral and maxillofacial radiology is a dental specialty concerned with proper interpretation of ordinary dental X-rays. Generalist dentists can usually read such imaging well. However, interpretation of some lesions (cysts and tumors) is more complicated and requires consultation with an oral and maxillofacial specialist. Oral and maxillofacial radiological specialists must employ state-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as cone beam volumetric tomography (CBVT), (TVFC), computed tomography (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and ultrasound. They collaborate with generalists and specialists in formulating a final diagnosis and deciding on the best treatment for the patient.
|Detailed examination of the tongue||Digital palpation of the jaw joint (TMJ)|
|Cheek with ulceration (marked redness)||Healing of the ulcer following treatment.|
|Patient with a night guard to treat facial pain.|
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