Dentistry is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, commonly in the dentition but also the oral mucosa, and of adjacent and related structures and tissues, particularly in the maxillofacial (jaw and facial) area. Although primarily associated with teeth among the general public, the field of dentistry or dental medicine is not limited to teeth but includes other aspects of the craniofacial complex including the temporomandibular joint and other supporting, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, vascular, and anatomical structures.
Dentistry is often also understood to subsume the now largely defunct medical specialty of stomatology (the study of the mouth and its disorders and diseases) for which reason the two terms are used interchangeably in certain regions.[where?]
Various forms of ONj have been described over the last 160 years, and a number of causes have been suggested in the literature. In recent years, an increased incidence of ONj has been associated with the use of high dosages of bisphosphonates, required by some cancer treatment regimens, especially when the patient undergoes subsequent dental procedures. The possible risk from lower oral doses of bisphosphonates, taken by patients to prevent or treat osteoporosis, remains uncertain. Various treatment options have been explored, however severe cases of ONj still require surgical removal of the affected bone. Careful medical history and assessement of pre-existing systemic problems and possible sites of dental infection are required to help prevent the condition, especially if bisphosphonate therapy is considered.
A microscopic device used in dental analysis, c. 1900
A sagittal cross-section of a molar tooth; 1: crown, 2: root, 3: enamel, 4: dentin and dentin tubules, 5: pulp chamber, 6: blood vessels and nerve, 7: periodontal ligament, 8: apex and periapical region, 9: alveolar bone
Irreversible enamel defects caused by an untreated celiac disease. They may be the only clue to its diagnosis, even in absence of gastrointestinal symptoms, but are often confused with fluorosis, tetracycline discoloration, or other causes. The National Institutes of Health include a dental exam in the diagnostic protocol of celiac disease.