This fascinating field combines aspects of medicine and dentistry, as Philip Atkin explains
- By: Philip Atkin
Oral medicine in the United Kingdom (UK) is a hospital based specialty that sits at the interface of medicine and dentistry and uses the knowledge, skills, and training drawn from both disciplines. It is principally outpatient based, with patients being referred from dental specialties, medical and surgical specialties, general dental practice, and general medical practice. Patient management can involve colleagues from gastrointestinal medicine, genitourinary medicine, dermatology, rheumatology, psychiatry and psychology, chronic pain clinics, orofacial surgery, and neurosurgery among many others. Diagnosis of conditions involves working closely with colleagues in pathology, microbiology, and virology, among other specialties.
Patients may present with oral manifestations of systemic disease, with disease primarily of the oral tissues, or with lesions secondary to therapeutic interventions for other conditions. Disease processes may be inflammatory, infective, or neoplastic, and therapy can involve the use of a spectrum of agents, from simple topical drugs to strong systemic immunosuppressive or