Oral Medicine

Oral Medicine:

Oral Cancer

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Ulcers

Autoimmune Disease

Diabetes

Medically Complex Patients

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Oral Medicine

Oral Medicine is the field of dentistry concerned with the oral health care of medically complex patients and with the diagnosis and non-surgical management of medically-related disorders or conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region.

Oral Cancer

While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 100 new individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. When found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately at this time, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 45% at five years from diagnosis, and high treatment related morbidity in survivors.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a complex, vexing condition in which a burning pain occurs that may involve your tongue, lips or widespread areas of your whole mouth, without any obvious reason.

The disorder has long been associated with a variety of other conditions — including menopause, psychological problems, nutritional deficiencies and disorders of the mouth, such as oral thrush and dry mouth (xerostomia). Some researchers have suggested dysfunctional or damaged nerves as a possible cause. But the exact cause of burning mouth syndrome is often difficult to pin down, and pain may continue for months or years.

Treatment of burning mouth syndrome is highly individualized and depends on your particular signs and symptoms and on the underlying cause or causes, if they can be identified. Most people with burning mouth syndrome can control their symptoms through tailored treatment plans.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a neuropathic disorder of one or both of the facial trigeminal nerves. It causes episodes of intense pain in any or all of the following: the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, teeth or jaw on one side of the face. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. TN usually develops after the age of 50, more commonly in females, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age.

TN can bring about stabbing, mind-numbing, electric shock-like pain from just a finger’s glance of the cheek or spontaneously without any stimulation by the patient.

Oral Ulcers

An oral ulcer is the name for the appearance of an open sore inside the mouth caused by a break in the mucous membrane or the epithelium on the lips or surrounding the mouth. The types of oral ulcers are diverse, with a multitude of associated causes including: physical or chemical trauma, infection from microorganisms, medical conditions or medications, cancerous and nonspecific processes. Once formed, the ulcer may be maintained by inflammation and/or secondary infection. Two common oral ulcer types are aphthous ulcers (canker sores) and cold sores (aka fever blisters).

Autoimmune Disease

Many systemic diseases have oral manifestations. The oral cavity might well be thought of as the window to the body because oral manifestations accompany many systemic diseases. These oral manifestations must be properly recognized if the patient is to receive appropriate diagnosis and referral for treatment.

Diabetes

According to the AmericanDiabetes Association, nearly 24 million people have diabetes. Of that number, unfortunately, 5.7 million people are unaware that they have the disease. Diabetes can affect multiple parts of the body, including the kidneys, nerves, heart and even the mouth.

Poorly controlled diabetic patients are at risk for numerous oral complications such as periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, infection, neuropathy, and poor healing. None of these complications are unique to diabetes. However, their presence may serve as an early clue to the possible presence of diabetes.

Medically Complex Patients

The mouth is often referred to as the “gateway” to the body. Many systemic diseases manifest themselves in the mouth first and many diseases have oral symptoms including: Crohn’s Disease, leukemia, diabetes, and HIV. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to managing the diseases.

Increasingly, prescribed medication have oral implications. Dry mouth and candida are two examples of drug-induced symptoms in the mouth. Understanding the causes and treatments can literally be life-changing.

Northern Westchester Dental Center is located in Yorktown Heights, New York and serves the people of Putnam Valley, Mahopac, Somers, Northern Westchester, Jefferson Valley and the surrounding areas. For more information about our Oral Medicine services, or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at 914.245.3103.