Orofacial Pain

The diagnosis of painful syndromes relies on interpretation of historical data, review of laboratory studies, imaging, behavioral, social, and occupational assessment, interview and examination by the specialists who have formal training in orofacial pain or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

The orofacial pain specialist provides an interdisciplinary diagnostic and treatment service for patients with complex head, neck, TMJ, and orofacial pain. The orofacial pain specialist serves as a consultant to other dentists and physicians but is often the principal treating health care provider and may provide care at various levels, such as direct treatment, prescribing medication, prescribing rehabilitative services, performing pain relieving procedures, counseling of patients and families, direction of a multidisciplinary team, coordination of care with other healthcare providers and pursuant to optimal healthcare delivery to the patient suffering from a painful disorder. 

The common symptoms you may experience including the following: 

  • “Toothache” that is not relieved by dental or root canal treatment
  • Recurring pain on one side of the face, around the ears or TMJ
  • Difficulty opening or closing jaws with associated clicking or popping
  • Earache or ear ringing, not relieved by conventional treatment
  • A stiff or fatigued jaw in the morning upon awakening
  • Chronic headaches, muscle fatigue and soreness in the head and neck regions

The sites where the pain that the patient feels are often deceiving. Chronic pain with no abnormal dental findings could be caused by:

  1. Nerve disorders (neuropathic)
  2. Muscular problems in the TMJ, head & neck regions 
  3. TMJ structural changes 
  4. Even intracranial diseases (brain tumor)

Chronic pain can affect one’s quality of life and performance skills, leading to emotional distress and depression. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. Patients with the above symptoms should be referred to a specialist with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. 

For the detailed information on each particular pain, please go to the following link: 

American Academy of Orofacial Pain