Bhavik Desai, D.M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant professor of oral medicine and temporomandibular joint disorder
Bhavik Desai, D.M.D., Ph.D., is the Virginia Commonwealth School of Dentistry’s very own “Dr. House.”
Desai practices oral medicine, a medically based model and non-surgical specialty that focuses on sores, ulcers, cancers, diseases, chronic pain and nerve issues in association with the mouth.
“It's a branch of dentistry that actually involves itself more with medical problems of the mouth as opposed to dental,” said Desai. “So if someone has an ulcer or a sore that they don't know what's going on, if they have some lesions in their mouth, they would be a candidate for oral medicine.”
The oral medicine clinic is a relatively new addition to VCU Dental Care’s comprehensive clinical services. Oral medicine, a specialty that produces only about 20 residents each year, also adds to the educational experience of students.
Patients of the oral medicine clinic come from far and wide and are referred by medical or dental practitioners. “A typical patient of mine has been to a general dentist, maybe a couple of specialties, like endo, ortho, oral surgery, perio, etc.,” shared Desai. “They may have been to an ear nose and throat doctor or a neurologist, just to seek answers for head and neck pain. And by that time they're frustrated, the doctors are frustrated because no one has been able to help these folks, and that's where oral medicine comes in.”
Desai enjoys working with other schools on the MCV Campus and maintains excellent working relationships with a wide variety of practitioners. “Accurately diagnosing pain is very, very challenging,” Desai said. “We hope to fill in gaps, fill in the blanks for a small set, a small niche of patients who have ailments that are very uncommon.”