Oral medicine is a specialty area of dentistry that is concerned with the health of the
oral cavity and the diagnosis and management of diseases of the oral region. It may also include the oral and dental treatment of patients who are medically compromised,
i.e, those that have medical problems where dental treatment can result in a
Dental decay and periodontal disease are the most common diseases in the oral cavity, but there are other diseases that can affect the mouth and surrounding structures. Some of these conditions
are painful or they may result in gingival (gum) bleeding or halitosis (bad breath), which may prompt the patient to seek treatment. Other conditions, however, may give no symptoms until late in their
course. It is very important to have regular dental examinations to check on the health of both the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth, as early diagnosis of
a problem results in better chances of treatment.
A sub speciality within oral medicine is Oral and maxillofacial radiology, which uses enhanced imaging techniques for diagnostic purposes. They help in detecting the extent of tooth decay, to assess the damage to the alveolar bone, locating tumors, diagnosing temporomandibular joint
(TMJ) disorders, infectious diseases of the jaw, and most importantly in traumatic injuries.