Oral Medicine Specialists

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Oral medicine is a specialist field of dentistry which focuses on diagnosing and treating medical problems involving the mouth, salivary glands or jaws. Oral medicine specialists tend to work in consultant posts in academic units such as teaching in dental hospitals. They may also hold an academic post in undergraduate and postgraduate training and education in addition to being consulted on the diagnosis and non-surgical medical treatment of patients.

Patients experiencing a disorder of the mouth are usually referred to a dental hospital by their GDP (general dental practitioner) so they can be properly diagnosed and treated. Oral medicine consultants usually undertake a thorough examination as well as exploring the patient’s medical history. Further investigations and tests are often required to make sure the diagnosis is correct. This often includes using smears, swabs, pathological analysis and blood tests. In some cases, patients will then be referred to an Oral surgery specialist so that a tissue sample can be removed and studied microscopically. Oral medicine specialists will tend to provide non-surgical treatments which focus on advising the patient on how to manage their condition, recognising and minimising the risk factors and prescribing medications which will help control or cure the problem.

Qualifications of an Oral Medicine Specialist

In addition to being a registered dentist, an oral medicine specialist will also require medical qualifications as well as an MFDS or its equivalent. Trainees for a speciality in oral medicine will need a Diploma of Membership in Oral Medicine so that they can apply for their Certificate of Completion of Speciality training. In order to sit the necessary exams, a trainee in oral medicine will require two years postgraduate clinical experience at a minimum. They will also need to have achieved three years in a full time SAC approved training post or training programme.

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