What is an oral medicine specialist?

Oral medicine is a speciality of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and management of conditions that affect the maxillofacial region.

If you are suffering from a condition that affects the oral and maxillofacial region, you could likely benefit from seeing an oral medicine specialist. Oral medicine specialists are required to complete advanced and specialised training, which allows them to diagnose and manage a wide range of issues. Read on to find out what an oral medicine specialist does, and what kinds of concerns they can help resolve…

What training is required?

An oral medicine specialist is a dentist who has completed additional training that allows them to specialise. The additional education is advanced and allows them to take on a range of diagnostic and management approaches. Thanks to their specialised training, an oral medicine specialist qualifies with considerable knowledge of many medical conditions that affect the orofacial region. They can use highly specialised techniques and can often diagnose and manage oral pathologies, disorders and diseases that require specialist skills and knowledge.

What does an oral medicine specialist do?

An oral medicine specialist is a doctor who has been through specialised training that allows them to diagnose and manage a range of disorders related to the orofacial area. An oral medicine specialist is qualified to address a wide range of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as ulcers, growths, cancers, infections and allergies; disorders related to the salivary glands; temporomandibular disorders; taste and smell disorders; and oral manifestations of systemic and infectious diseases.

As part of their services, an oral medicine specialist is qualified to perform a comprehensive range of procedures to diagnose and treat various conditions. These include biopsies; imaging studies like x-rays, CT scans and MRIs; salivary and blood tests; medical management; and specialised injections, such as in the case of TMJ and associated jaw and facial pain.

An oral medicine specialist is also able to perform various dental procedures, and may even work with other healthcare practitioners, including general practitioners, dentists, oncologists and maxillofacial surgeons to formulate a treatment plan.

When should you see an oral medicine specialist?

You may be referred to an oral medicine specialist by your dentist or doctor, especially if you have a concern related to the soft tissues of your mouth. You may benefit from seeing an oral medicine specialist if you suffer from frequent or very painful mouth ulcers; general oral pain; or a dermatological condition that is affecting your mouth. You may also be referred to an oral medicine specialist if your doctor or dentist has recommended a biopsy of your mouth to check for cancer.

Other reasons for consulting with an oral medicine specialist include oral candidiasis; oral dysplasia; and geographic tongue, all of which may present with red and white patches in the mouth. Skin diseases that often have oral manifestations, and which can be diagnosed and managed by an oral medicine specialist include certain allergic reactions; lichen planus, which is an inflammatory skin condition; and lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease.

How can we help?

At OMFS, our oral specialist medicine specialist Dr Katrusha Hull is available to assist in the diagnosis and management of a range of issues. She has a particular interest in oral mucosal diseases, potentially malignant oral lesions, and orofacial pain conditions including burning mouth syndrome. Dr Hull has completed extensive training in the field and was awarded a PhD in 2018 for her research into the underlying mechanisms of graft-versus-host disease following stem cell transplantation.

A key member of the OMFS team, Dr Hull also holds specialist positions at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Monash Medical Centre and the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne. If you would like to find out more about Dr Hull, her qualifications and areas of expertise, please have a look here.

To arrange a consultation to see Dr Hull or any of our other specialists, please get in touch here or give us a call on (03) 9347 3788.