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Introduction to Treatment

Diagnosis

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 to 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 can 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.