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Oral Medicine

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Oral medicine is a dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases that affect the mouth, including their impact on general health. These may include pain, acute infections such as abscesses and pericoronitis, chronic infections such as periodontal disease, or consequences of dental treatment such as dry socket following tooth extraction.

Oral medication can also be critical in dealing with the diagnostic and prognostic challenges posed by an increasingly wide range of systemic disorders.

Oral medication helps with dental issues like:

  • Abscesses-these are inflamed areas of the mouth.
  • Dry socket-this results from losing a tooth and having an exposed blood clot.
  • Canker sores-these are painful, red ulcers on the lips or tongue that take a long time to heal.
  • Bruxism-this is when someone grinds or clenches their teeth during sleep.
  • Mouth cancer-this occurs in the tissues of the mouth and lips.
  • Leukoplakia-these are areas of white, thickened skin on the gums and cheek lining.
  • Cancerous lumps-these may be found inside the mouth or throat.
  • Periodontal disease-this is a leading cause of tooth loss.
  • Types of Dental Oral Medication

There are several types of oral medications:

Granules

Granules are small pieces of medicine that dissolve in the mouth. They are used to treat tooth pain and gum problems. They work by reducing the number of pain signals sent to the brain. Granules work by numbing the mouth and controlling pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

Tablets

Tablets are solid (pill) forms of medication. They can be chewed or swallowed whole or crushed, and dissolved in water to make a liquid for drinking or mixing with food. Tablets work by releasing medicine into the lining of the mouth. They take longer to dissolve than granules.

Tablet dissolving strips

Tablet dissolving strips are thin, flexible pieces of film that contain medication. They are placed on the tongue to dissolve quickly and absorb into the bloodstream quickly. They work by releasing medication into the lining of the mouth.

Lozenges/Pastilles

Lozenges and pastilles are small, flavored disks that dissolve slowly in the mouth. They work by releasing medicine into the lining of the mouth to reduce pain and control other symptoms. Most tablets and pastilles contain sugar as the main ingredient. Sugar helps hold the medicine in place as it dissolves slowly in your mouth.

Dissolvable films

Dissolvable films are thin, flexible pieces of film that contain medication. They work by releasing medicine into the lining of the mouth for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Dissolvable films can be chewed or swallowed whole and are often flavored like mint, cherry, or strawberry to make them pleasant tasting.

Mini-Tablets

These are small tablets that dissolve very quickly in your mouth within seconds. They are used to manage dry mouth, tooth pain, and sore throat. Mini tablets work best on an empty stomach.

Breath Strips

Breath strips are thin, flavored pieces of film that dissolve quickly on your tongue. Breath strips work best on an empty stomach. They release medication into the lining of your mouth for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Breath strips usually contain sugar as their main ingredient to hold the medicine in place as it dissolves in your mouth.

Chewable Tablets

These are chewable because they look like a piece of candy. They are used to manage pain, sore throat, dry mouth, and other symptoms with oral health conditions. Chewable tablets work best on an empty stomach but may be taken with water or food if needed. They work best when entirely chewed before being swallowed.

Chewable tablets usually contain sugar as their main ingredient to hold the medicine in place until it dissolves in your mouth. They are often flavored like mint, cherry, or strawberry for a pleasant taste.

Dissolving Lozenges/Tablets

These are flavored disks that dissolve slowly in your mouth within one hour. They work by gradually releasing medication into your tissues for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Dissolving lozenges and tablets contain sugar as their main ingredient to hold the medicine in place as it dissolves slowly in your mouth.

Liquid medicines

Liquid medications are medicines dissolved in water, alcohol, or syrup. A few drops of liquid medicine can be taken directly from an eyedropper or added to food or drink before swallowing. Most liquid medications are used to relieve dryness of the mouth (xerostomia) and the unpleasant taste caused by some oral health conditions.

Sublingual Strips

These are small, thin pieces of medication that dissolve quickly under the tongue. They release medicine directly into the lining of the mouth. Sublingual Strips make it easy for children to take their medications because they do not need water to swallow them. They work best on an empty stomach.

How Do Oral Medications Work?

Oral medications work by killing the bacteria that cause infection. They also decrease swelling and may decrease pain. Oral medications usually come in liquids, creams, tablets, or injections. An oral medicine specialist or dentist usually prescribes them.

When it comes to combating tooth pain or a tooth infection, the best first choice is to contact a dentist. The sooner you do this, the better your chances of treatment success. If the pain is too severe and you cannot wait for an appointment, there are still ways to help relieve discomfort until you see a dentist like using oral medications.

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