Oral Medicine

oral mucosal diseases, TMJ disorders and facial pain.

Dr. Fry specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of oral mucosal diseases,
TMJ disorders and facial pain.

TMD and Facial Pain

Many patients suffer from pain in the mouth, jaws and face that is not caused by dental or periodontal disease. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD), are disorders of the jaw joints and/or muscles that can cause debilitating pain and loss of function.

Patients are often anxious about seeking treatment for TMD, fearing they may require surgery. While some patients do require surgery, the vast majority can be treated conservatively. Oral Medicine specialists are trained to provide non-surgical, reversible management of TMD. Common treatments for TMD include behavioral modification, physical therapy, appliance therapy, trigger point injections and prescription medication.

Neurological issues can lead to a wide variety of facial pain conditions, including trigeminal neuralgia, atypical facial pain, burning mouth syndrome and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. For patients with these conditions, diagnosis and treatment can be elusive. Oral Medicine specialists are trained in identifying and managing these conditions, often with prescription medication.

Oral Lesions and Dry Mouth

There are a number of oral lesions and conditions that are independent of oral hygiene, dental decay and periodontal disease. Some patients develop painful oral lesions that won’t go away. Others can develop white, red or pigmented lesions of their oral tissues. Many patients suffer from dry mouth, which can cause pain, increased dental decay and periodontal disease, and difficulty eating and speaking. These conditions are not commonly seen or treated by general dentists or other practitioners. Oral Medicine specialists are trained to evaluate, diagnose and treat these illnesses.

Evaluation and treatment of oral lesions is unpredictable, and is tailored to each patient. Oral lesions are often diagnosed with a clinical exam and tissue biopsy, in which all or part of a lesion is removed and evaluated by a pathologist. Once diagnosed, proper management with medication, complete removal or referral to an appropriate specialist can be initiated. If lesions are painful, they can often be managed with topical treatments.

For patients with dry mouth, treatments may include lifestyle modifications, over-the-counter products, prescription medications and protective appliances.