We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Oral Medicine?

By Jen Ainoa
Updated Jan 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Oral medicine is the science of treating and preventing diseases of the mouth, teeth, face, or jaws. Oral medicine is an area of specialty within the field of dentistry. It can be thought of in much the same way that podiatry is the science of treating and preventing disease of the feet. Oral medicine focuses on conditions of the mouth, such as chronic pain or even cancers, and those conditions will naturally include problems associated with teeth, so a person specializing in oral medicine must also be a dentist.

Being an area of specialty, the oral medicine specialist is not a physician who is typically seen first when illnesses or injury of the mouth occur. Doctors specializing in oral medicine see patients who have been unresponsive to the prior treatments of dentists or doctors, or who have conditions that regular dentists and doctors are not qualified to treat. In most cases, a patient must first see his regular dentist or doctor before being referred to an oral medicine specialist.

The oral surgeon, sometimes called a maxillofacial surgeon, is the most common type of oral medicine specialist. The word "maxilla" means upper jaw bone, so the term "maxillofacial" indicates the jaw or face. To become an oral surgeon, a person must first successfully complete dental school and then serve seven or more years in a residency in which he trains in performing surgery. Unlike a regular dentist, the oral surgeon is more likely to perform procedures or operations in a hospital as opposed to a dental office, making him more similar to a doctor than a dentist.

Procedures that are frequently performed by oral surgeons include oral or facial reconstruction of people with cleft palate; treatment of facial injuries from severe head trauma, such as a car accident; and even reduction of the size of the tongue to treat sleep apnea. Oral surgeons also remove tumors of the mouth, face, or neck, and fit patients with prosthetics. The extraction of teeth, particularly difficult-to-reach wisdom teeth, is the most common procedure performed by oral surgeons.

Oral medicine can be thought of as a gray area that overlaps the fields of medicine and dentistry. There is some controversy surrounding oral medicine. It is unclear whether oral medicine is an area of specialty among dentists or doctors. In other words, there is difficulty in deciding if the oral medicine specialist is a surgeon who knows dentistry, or a dentist who knows how to do surgery. One goal of oral medicine is to bring about a climate of collaboration between the two professions to better serve society.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.