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Oral medicine is a specialty of dentistry that bridges the gap between medicine and dentistry. Specialists in this field are graduates of dental school who pursue additional training in the diagnosis and management of conditions affecting the lining of the mouth (called oral mucosal diseases), salivary glands, jaw bones, and temporomandibular joints (TMJ). In other words, all of the structures in and around the mouth besides the teeth.

Oral medicine specialists do some minor surgeries, such as biopsies, but primarily manage these conditions with non-surgical approaches, including medications, injections, and/or appliances when appropriate. This is in contrast to oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFS), who are specially trained in the surgical management of conditions affecting the oral cavity and face.

Oral Medicine Services

At Atrius Health, our oral medicine specialist provides evaluation, diagnosis, and management of the following:

  • Mouth sores or sensitivity
  • Lumps, bumps, or color changes (such as white, red, or brown spots/plaques) in your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Burning of the tongue or roof of the mouth
  • Jaw pain
  • Tooth pain unexplained by dental disease
  • Oral complications of cancer treatment (such as graft versus host disease or osteonecrosis of the jaw)

Oral Medicine at Kenmore (Boston)

Please contact our Ear, Nose, and Throat department for more information or to make an appointment.

What can I expect at my visit?

A visit with an oral medicine specialist will feel much like an appointment you would have with other doctors and will be covered by your medical insurance. The oral medicine specialist will ask you questions about your medical history and the reason for your visit, conduct a thorough examination of your head and neck region, and may recommend laboratory tests, imaging, or a procedure.

They may also prescribe a medication that can be used topically (applied directly to the area of concern) or one you take by mouth (such as a pill or capsule). In some cases, a recommended procedure (such as a biopsy or therapeutic injection) can be done on the same day. In other cases, you will need to return for a separate visit, especially if prior authorization is needed from your medical insurance (such as for Botox©).

Some conditions require ongoing management with periodic follow up visits; others require only a single visit. When appropriate, your oral medicine specialist will communicate with other providers, such as your primary care doctor, dentist, or other specialists, to ensure that all of your care needs are met.