The medical and dental specialty of Orofacial Pain encompasses the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders. Patients with these disorders may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy, or may be syndromes in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as TMJ disorder pain, neuropathic pain or headaches.
The proper diagnosis of painful syndromes requires interpretation of historical data; review of laboratory studies, imaging, behavioral, social, and occupational assessment; interview and examination by an orofacial pain specialist. The orofacial pain provider 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, providing direction of a multidisciplinary team, providing coordination of care with other healthcare providers and providing consultative services to public and private agencies pursuant to optimal healthcare delivery to the patient suffering from a painful disorder.
Orofacial pain is evolving; the scope of the field is enlarging. At the present time orofacial pain encompasses:
- Temporomandibular Joint disorders
- Masticatory musculoskeletal pain
- Cervical musculoskeletal pain
- Neurovascular pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Sleep disorders related to orofacial pain
- Orofacial Dystonias
- Intraoral, intracranial, extracranial, and systemic disorders that cause orofacial pain