The practice of oral medicine in the United States in the twenty-first century: an update

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2015 Apr;119(4):408-15. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2014.12.018. Epub 2015 Jan 6.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the practice characteristics of Oral Medicine trained dentists in the United States.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey of members of the American Academy of Oral Medicine. Patient demographic characteristics, referring providers, medical comorbidities, diagnoses, and practitioner information were collected during a 5-day practice week. The survey was open during the years 2011 and 2012.

Results: Information from 916 patients was entered by 74 practitioners from 20 states. The mean number of practitioners seen before consulting Oral Medicine providers was 2.2, and patients had experienced symptoms for 16.8 months before the initial encounter. Common chief complaints were nonulcerative mucosal lesions, orofacial pain, and dry mouth. Patients with cardiovascular disease were at a higher risk of developing lichenoid lesions, and those with psychiatric conditions were at higher risk of reporting burning mouth symptoms.

Conclusions: Diagnoses and procedures performed by Oral Medicine practitioners complement practice characteristics of general and specialty dentists in the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Oral Medicine*
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States