Here is some detailed information about the field of oral medicine.

Background

Oral medicine is a field of dentistry that is concerned with the oral health care of patients who have complex medical
conditions, oral mucosal disorders (i.e., affecting the skin lining of the mouth), salivary gland disorders and/or chronic/recurrent orofacial pain (i.e., affecting the mouth and face).

Oral medicine practitioners are primarily involved in the diagnosis and non-surgical management of chronic, recurrent and medically related disorders or conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial (i.e., face and jaw) region. Consultative services are often provided to physicians and dentists treating this patient population.

Oral medicine practitioners have advanced training and clinical experience in providing general dentistry to patients with
medical problems that require special consideration(s). Examples include patients with: multiple medical conditions taking multiple medications, hematologic disease (before/after a bone marrow transplant), head and neck cancer, planned or a history of radiation/chemotherapy and/or an organ transplant.

The special knowledge and experience that many of these situations require is not always readily or consistently available within the existing community of general dentists and dental specialists. Oral medicine is typically practiced similar to a
specialty or sub-specialty. However, because it is not officially recognized as a specialty, many people are unaware that oral medicine exists, and as a result may have difficulty in obtaining such care.

Education and Residency Training

Oral medicine providers must complete a two-year residency program after completing four years of dental school. These advanced general dentistry education residency programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). For more information/details about these programs, go to the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) website.

American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM)

The AAOM is a nonprofit organization founded in 1945 as the American Academy of Dental Medicine and took its current name in 1966. The members of the American Academy of Oral Medicine include an internationally recognized group of health care professionals and experts concerned with the oral health care of patients who have complex medical conditions, oral mucosal disorders, salivary gland disorders, and/or chronic/recurrent orofacial pain.

AAOM’s Vision Statement

AAOM integrates medicine and dentistry to promote optimal health.

AAOM’s Mission Statement

To promote the highest standards of care in the diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions that are not responsive to conventional dental, oral or maxillofacial surgical procedures

To provide an avenue of referral for dental practitioners who have patients with severe, life-threatening medical disorders or complex diagnostic problems involving the oral and maxillofacial region that require ongoing non-surgical management

To improve the quality of life of patients with medically-related oral disease

To promote the study and dissemination of knowledge regarding the medical aspects of dentistry while serving the best interests of the public

To foster increased understanding and cooperation between the medical and dental professions

To foster excellence in education, research, and patient care in the field of oral medicine

To obtain the American Dental Association’s recognition of oral medicine as a specialty