Orofacial pain – an update on diagnosis and management

Key Points

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of common non-dental facial pain which will be of interest to non-specialist dentists.

  • Provides guidance with regards to diagnosis, management and when to refer facial pain patients.

  • Highlights the importance of adopting a biopsychosocial approach to facial pain management

Abstract

The diagnosis and management of orofacial pain may be challenging due to complex histories, pathophysiology and associated psychosocial co-morbidities such as depression and anxiety. Neuropathic facial pain conditions such as burning mouth syndrome (BMS), persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP), atypical odontalgia (AO) and trigeminal neuralgia (TN) require early recognition by primary care clinicians and referral to secondary care. Acute pain-related temporomandibular disorder (TMD) may be managed in the primary care setting, with identification of those at risk of developing chronic TMD receiving an early referral to secondary care. Adopting a biopsychosocial approach, consisting of physical therapies, pharmacotherapy and psychological support can lead to effective management and may limit the negative impact of facial pain upon quality of life and daily functioning.

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Ghurye, S., McMillan, R. Orofacial pain – an update on diagnosis and management. Br Dent J 223, 639–647 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.879

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