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Author: Mayoor Patel, DDS, MS

When a patient comes into your office with craniofacial pain, how are they diagnosed? In a study, it was found that many patients with mid-or lower-face craniofacial pain are diagnosed based on accompanying signs, symptoms, and features other than location. This is typically seen as either atypical migraines or atypical trigeminal autonomic cephalgia (TAC)s. Some of the distinguishing features of headache disorders as a cause of facial pain include the temporal pattern of pain and associated symptoms, such as:

  • Temporal pattern of pain.
  • Associated symptoms including light and sound sensitivity and nausea.
  • Cranial autonomic symptoms.
  • Lack of local triggering among others.

What Was Found in the Study?

Researchers observed an intraoral neurovascular pain, which was termed neurovascular orofacial pain (NVOP). Because of its location and imitation of dental pulpitis, it has great diagnostic and therapeutic importance for differentiating it from dental pathology.

The Results

It was concluded that facial manifestations of headache disorders and primary facial pain share common trigeminal nerve input even though they are highly distinct disorders. Further investigation of facial presentations of headache disorders can provide new insight into the interface between headache and facial pain.

Pain Is Not Easily Diagnosed

As we continue to dive into craniofacial pain and headaches, it is important to understand that pain isn’t as easily diagnosed as many think. The underlying cause can be quite difficult to pinpoint, so it is vital to continue taking advanced courses and keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in TMD and TMJ disorders.

Interested in learning more on how to implement and grow orofacial pain services in your dental practice? Join us and become a participant at seminars for Craniofacial Pain, TMD or Dental Sleep Medicine. View our course schedule here.