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TMJ

Orofacial Pain

Orofacial Pain

What is orofacial pain?

Orofacial pain—also referred to as “neuropathic pain,” “atypical odontalgia,” “phantom tooth pain” and “atypical facial pain”—is a condition that causes persistent pain or discomfort in your jaw, head, neck or shoulder. Patients may suffer chronic headaches, persistent facial pain and persistent toothaches that have no clear explanation. They may visit physicians and dentists and undergo diagnostic tests, blood work and imaging that are all normal. Worse, they may undergo well-meaning medical or dental treatments only to see their pain increase.

Understanding orofacial pain

Orofacial pains are often the result of a damaged nerve that has failed to heal properly, for example, after a root canal or other dental procedure. The damaged nerve persists in sending a pain message to the brain despite the physical appearance of normal healing. These pains can persist for months or years and, in some instances, can be lifelong, waxing and waning over time.

Getting help for orofacial pain

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you have a thorough evaluation before commencing any treatment. At DP5th, orofacial consultation includes a thorough history, comprehensive dental examination and analysis, appropriate x-rays and/or referral for MRI or CT and other testing and appropriate medical consultation. Once we’ve diagnosed the problem, we’ll put together a customized treatment plan that may involve intraoral appliances, medications, pain management, physical therapy, behavioral intervention and only in the last resort, when appropriate, a referral for surgical procedures.