Dentistry is about more than just teeth and gums—it has to do with the oral-systemic connection and the overall health of the patient. For that reason, you might want to contemplate if you should treat craniofacial pain at your dental practice. By offering craniofacial pain services, you are creating more opportunity for yourself and your team to help treat patients and improve their overall quality of life.
What is Craniofacial Pain?
The definition of craniofacial pain is jaw or facial pain, which commonly accompanies headaches and neck pain. Craniofacial pain can have a long list of causes, but the diagnosis can often be made by a good medical history and examination at your dental office.
The common causes of facial pain are often benign and self-limiting, but it is essential not to miss those conditions that require urgent treatments. While many people think TMD and craniofacial pain are two of the same, there are some types of facial pain not related to TMD, including:
- Facial pain from the neck and shoulders
- Facial pain of nerve origin
- Facial pain due to migraines
Many people who visit their doctor due to pain in the face, ears, teeth and/or jaw are often told that these symptoms are “in their head,” and they cannot provide appropriate treatment. As an orofacial pain dentist, you can help in the diagnosis and treatment for a patient’s pain.
The Importance of Craniofacial Pain Care
Over 45 million Americans suffer from headaches each year. Most do not get treatment and have no idea why they keep experiencing pain. Craniofacial pain can often be a difficult subject because most dentists receive very little education and exposure to treating patients with these conditions.
By advancing your understanding of orofacial pain, you can better understand how beneficial it is for patients when they visit your dental office. It is so rewarding having your patients enthusiastically thank you for getting them out of pain.
To continue your education in the area of craniofacial pain, it is important to attend dental seminars and lectures. In attending these lectures, you can continue to improve the services you offer at your dental practice. As a dentist you are the first line of defense for patients suffering from orofacial pain— there is a growing realization that a common cause of pain is through a bad bite.
In the upcoming lecture series, you can learn about your role in the diagnosis and treatment of craniofacial pain. Take charge of your dental practice by taking the next step toward relieving your patients’ pain.
By Dr. Mayoor Patel