To Our Health Professional Colleagues

As the profession of dental medicine matures and expands so too does the need to rethink traditional models of patient care delivery. There is now an important, indeed essential, opportunity to respond proactively to future patient management challenges that lie ahead. Oral Medicine experts, working side-by-side with our health professional colleagues, are well poised to contribute to this opportunity. We are committed to helping create novel paradigms for patient care in order to meet the needs of patients requiring medically necessary, non-surgical oral management.


Diplomates in Oral Medicine have formal advanced training as mandated by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, focused on non-surgical management of oral disease in medically complex patients. Given the unmet and often challenging oral needs in these patients, Oral Medicine practitioners are key members of the inter-professional healthcare team. Depending upon the complexity of a given patient's healthcare needs, this team may consist of the entire spectrum of healthcare professionals (e.g., general dentists, dental specialists, medical specialists, and allied professionals). Efforts to coordinate the patient's oral disease management in concert with treatment provided by this interdisciplinary team are often facilitated by Oral Medicine experts.

The challenge of managing the oral needs of medically complex patients continues to expand in number and scope. Reasons for this escalating trajectory include but are not limited to:

  • an aging population in America;
  • an increasing number of persons with medical illnesses that directly affect his or her oral health;
  • introduction of novel therapeutics with unique oral side effects;
  • an ever-increasing research base relative to the role of oral disease in contributing to adverse systemic outcomes.

These facts warrant the fostering of new collaborations both within the profession of dentistry as well as across the other health professions. The American Academy of Oral Medicine is committed to proactive approaches to patient care that will result in highly successful, cost effective outcomes relative to prevention and treatment of oral disease. At its core, our approach is collaborative and has the goal of preserving and indeed increasing the numbers and types of patients seen by our dental and other health professional colleagues. These outcomes are targeted to addressing important, medically necessary patient care issues as well as enhancing collaborations within the inter-professional model. A likely direct result of this collaborative model will thus be to increase patient referral to other dental specialties and improved oral health of these patients.

We both welcome our partnership with our professional colleagues as well as embrace the needs and challenges associated with managing the increasing numbers of medically complex patients in this country. We look forward to contributing to defining and implementing new approaches in health care so as to comprehensively benefit the oral and systemic management of all our patients.