The addition of genomic information to our understanding of oral disease is driving important changes in oral health care. It is anticipated that genome-derived information will promote a deeper understanding of disease etiology and permit earlier diagnosis, allowing for preventative measures prior to disease onset rather than treatment that attempts to repair the diseased state. Advances in genome technologies have fueled expectations for this proactive healthcare approach. Application of genomic testing is expanding and has already begun to find its way into the practice of clinical dentistry. To take full advantage of the information and technologies currently available, it is vital that dental care providers, consumers, and policymakers be aware of genomic approaches to understanding of oral diseases and the application of genomic testing to disease diagnosis and treatment. Ethical, legal, clinical, and educational initiatives are also required to responsibly incorporate genomic information into the practice of dentistry. This article provides an overview of the application of genomic technologies to oral health care and introduces issues that require consideration if we are to realize the full potential of genomics to enable the practice of personalized dental medicine.
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