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This section of the website is going to provide basic information on the treatment of oral disease. Again, dental decay and gum disease will be used as examples of oral diseases to help the reader understand some of the basic issues involved with diagnosis and treatment.
Some oral diseases are easier to diagnose than others. However, it is usually best to have a specific diagnosis to receive the best treatment. Clinicians can diagnose many oral diseases with information gained from a good medical and dental history, as well as a clinical examination. However, some diseases require additional diagnostic information be gathered before a definitive diagnosis can be made. Additional diagnostic information can be obtained by performing additional diagnostic procedures (such as taking an X-ray, drawing blood for a laboratory test, etc.). The ability of an additional diagnostic procedure to detect an oral disease if it is present, or to indicate that a disease is truly not present, varies according to the procedure and disease. Also, most diagnostic procedures have some associated risk. So, it is important to talk to your oral health provider before you consent to any additional diagnostic procedures.
Screening for Early Disease and Treatment
Many oral diseases start as a minor condition, but if left untreated, can progress to a more serious condition. Therefore, many individuals would benefit from early detection and early treatment of their oral disease.
For example, oral health professionals will screen for actual early disease, in addition to screening for risk factors of dental decay and gum disease. They do this so the patient will have the opportunity to receive early treatment which is often more conservative and less costly, than later treatment, and is effective.
If dental public health officials are screening a population for risk factors for the development of disease, they will also often screen the population for actual early disease to provide opportunities for early treatment.
More Advanced Disease and Treatment
If left untreated many oral diseases progress to more advanced forms. When this happens treatment often becomes more involved and expensive. However, even for advanced oral diseases there are many treatment options that are both safe and effective.
Safe and Effective Treatment
If your oral health professional has advised that you need to be treated for a given oral disease, it is important that you discuss the various treatment options with your provider, and the safety and effectiveness of any particular proposed treatment.
The pages that follow provide resources for obtaining information concerning diagnostic procedures and treatment options for common oral diseases.
Due to the nature of websites, some links contain the same information found in our Prevention section.