When it comes to the study of structure, function and diseases of oral cavity, the discipline we commonly refer to in this regard is most commonly known as stomatology. In a number of countries, the term stomatology is interchanged with the term oral medicine, which is not considered to be a specialty in field of dentistry in United States. However, there are several oral and dental issues which occur as consequences of other diseases, and those issues do not fully qualify as ones to be treated by either medical specialists or qualified dentists. Such issues still need to be treated and this is where stomatology comes in.
Regulation of dentistry
It’s the role of American Dental Association (ADA) to explain what fields can be regarded as specialties in the field of dentistry. Then Commission on Dental Accreditation controls the curriculum and training which allows a general dentist to become a specialist. Now, there are some ongoing cases in the courts of United States that question the autonomy of ADA and other boards which have the authority to consider other specialties in order to grant specialization certificates to the dentists. The result of this ongoing case is going to have its impact on overall dentistry. For now, there are nine specialties which are recognized in most of the states. Those specialties range from dental public health to pediatric and surgical disciplines.
What is stomatology?
Stomatology is basically a discipline which overlaps with other disciplines of dentistry such as orthodontics, dental public health, and disciplines which involve oral facial pain and chronic pain. The training of Oral medicine and stomatology is mainly aimed at nonsurgical management of oral health issues which result due to systematic diseases, oral mucosal lesions and other diseases which may not involve any problem with the teeth. Oral pathology also comes into consideration when the tasks like biopsy specimen are carried out.
Diseases that affect oral health
Some chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes can have oral manifestations. When these manifestations result in dental issues, the treatment is carried out by specialists in stomatology. Sometimes, treatment of other diseases may require a patient to get oral treatment. For instance, cancer treatment usually results in oral mucosal lesions and pains which require special oral care.
There are some oral health conditions which are not entirely understood, and dentists are studying to find connection between the occurrence of those issues and condition of oral health. Some of those issues include Burning tongue, sores, ulcers, sensory disorders, taste disorders, movement disorders and chronic pain.
In order to find out if you require treatment by a stomatologist, you first need to visit your dentist, who will then refer you to the right department.