Oral medicine is that area of dentistry that addresses conditions that have medical characteristics affecting their management, including diseases of the oral mucosa, orofacial pain conditions, salivary gland disorders and taste disorders. It also addresses the dental management of people with medical problems that require special consideration, including people with complicated medical histories, the elderly, and patients who have or have had head and neck cancer.
The special knowledge and experience that many of these situations require is not always readily or consistently available within the existing community practices of many general dentists and dental specialists. Oral medicine is typically practiced as a specialty or sub-specialty, but because it is not officially recognized as a specialty, many people are unaware that it exists, and as a result may have difficulty in obtaining such care.”
Our specialists, Dr. Diamond and Dr. Schlesinger, are specially trained to recognize oral pathology, biopsy suspicious lesions, and provide an appropriate referral to a specialist in Oral Medicine for further care.
“More than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 34,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only half will be alive in 5 years. This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).”
We routinely screen our patients for cancer and other diseases of the mouth. Biopsies and other tests are usually required to diagnose oral cancer and other intra-oral pathoses.
Suffer No More
Canker sores, known as aphthous ulcers, are very painful. They only occur inside the mouth, on the inner lips, the lining of the cheek, soft palate, or the tongue. Canker sores are round and white, with a red halo.
Their exact cause is unknown but we know certain things trigger canker sores – stress, particular foods (i.e. chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes), trauma from brushing or lip-biting, and possibly sharp foods (i.e. potato chips).
They can be extremely painful and can interfere with normal eating, drinking, talking and swallowing. Most people get a canker sore once or twice a year, while others suffer from them chronically during their entire life.
It is estimated that nearly 20% of the American population suffers from chronic recurring canker sores. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from this problem, probably because of the influence of female hormones.
Left untreated, a canker sore will heal naturally in about 2 weeks, but often become larger or worsen during this time. Typical treatments involving topical analgesics or anti-microbial ointments are minimally effective.
Today, dental lasers represent a huge breakthrough in the treatment of canker sores. If you suffer from chronic canker sores, or have an unbearably painful one, we can remove it using our Waterlase MD Turbo advanced laser system.
The Waterlase YSGG laser treatment provides instant pain relief with no anesthetic, and the sore usually heals completely within 24 hours.
Laser Treatment for Herpes Type I and II
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters are caused by the Herpes Simplex Type 1 or 2 virus and tend to recur in the same location. Most children contract a Herpes Simplex Type 1 infection prior to age 5, but the infection usually goes unnoticed because the child does not manifest any symptoms.
After infection, the virus becomes dormant and lives in your nerves for your entire life. When the virus becomes activated, a tingling or burning sensation occurs 1 or 2 days before the formation of small blisters. The sores then break, ooze a clear fluid, and form a scab. The healing process takes 1 to 2 weeks.
The main difference between cold sores and canker sores is that the viral sores (cold sores) are contagious from the time the blisters form until the scab covers the area completely. Touching your eye after contact with an active blister is particularly dangerous because it could result in permanent eye damage.
Prescription medications and creams are available to prevent and treat viral blisters and are usually effective.
Our Waterlase YSGG laser painlessly treats cold sores by inactivating and killing the viruses before they have a chance to infect another area or person.
The Waterlase YSGG advanced laser system represents such a significant breakthrough in the practice of periodontics, esthetic and implant dentistry, that we have devoted an entire website to this cutting edge method of treatment.
We send our biopsies to the Oral Pathology Laboratory at the NY Hospital in Queens, the largest oral biopsy service in the United States.
TMJ, Orofacial Pain and Neuropathy
Temperomandibular Disorder (TMD), commonly referred to as “TMJ”, can present a multitude of symptoms. If you experience frequent headaches, neck aches, upper back pain, soreness in the jaw joints, or periodic tooth pain and sensitivity, you should be evaluated for TMD.
Treatment may be as simple as wearing a custom fabricated nightguard designed to change the way your teeth contact each other.