Oral medicine: an essential part of the clinician’s practice

oral medicine

UCL Eastman explains why oral medicine is such an interesting and life-changing focus.

Have you seen in your practice, patients with white or red patches of the oral mucosa? Have you found yourself wondering how to manage a patient who complains about severe dry mouth or a persistent burning sensation to the tongue? What investigations should you recommend to patients who present with painful mouth ulceration? What should you look for when your patients ask for oral cancer screening?

Oral medicine is a fascinating specialty that also sits at the interface between dentistry and medicine. It is concerned with the diagnosis and non-surgical management of disorders of the oro-facial region that do not relate directly to teeth.

Keeping up-to-date

Oral medicine disorders often represent chronic or recurrent medical diseases. They can therefore have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life. In some instances oral medicine disorders can be life-threatening or represent malignancy. Affected individuals can present with conditions that are localised to the mouth. They can also represent manifestations of a more widespread, systemic, disease. Some disorders however, represent reactions to medications or therapies and can interfere with patients’ general medical treatment.

The General Dental Council recommends that is essential for patients’ safety that all dentists keep up-to-date regarding the early detection of oral cancer. Similarly, NICE guidelines recommend patients with white and red patches be assessed by their dentist for suspected oral cancer. However, the vast majority of available educational and training opportunities aimed at helping post-graduate clinicians identify early oral cancers consist of short one-hour lectures. These are insufficient to give clinicians the knowledge required to assess patients with confidence and safety.

Oral medicine MSc

Our prestigious, one-year, full-time MSc in oral medicine helps clinicians of all ages and backgrounds. It helps them learn how to identify, diagnose and manage patients presenting with disorders of the oral mucosa, salivary glands, the jawbones, as well as chronic oro-facial pain.

It is the only UK oral medicine MSc that has been running successfully and consistently for over 20 years; accepting exceptional post-graduates from across the world. Graduates also often go on to take up prestigious hospital, Health Ministry and university appointments in their home countries.

UCL Eastman delivers the programme over 12 months. It consists of lectures, seminars and comprehensive clinical experience in oral medicine, head and neck cancer, oral dysplasia, and facial pain. Internationally renowned programme staff run groundbreaking clinical trials and secure millions of pounds in research funding. This results in students offered solid exposure to clinical research and trial delivery. This is unique amongst UK and most international institutions.


Find out more about the oral medicine MSc: www.ucl.ac.uk/eastman/study/oral-medicine.

Take our one-hour, online oral cancer update CPD course: www.ucl.ac.uk/short-courses/search-courses/oral-cancer-update-general-dental-practice.