What Is Orofacial Pain?
The specialty of Orofacial Pain Dentistry is concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders.
Such 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 neuropathic pains or headaches.
Bite misalignment of teeth
Orofacial pain is evolving and the scope of the field is enlarging. At the present time, orofacial pain encompasses:
- Masticatory musculoskeletal pain
- Cervical musculoskeletal pain
- Neurovascular pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Sleep disorders related to orofacial pain
- Orofacial Dystonias
Symptoms of Orofacial Pain
Oral facial pain includes a number of clinical problems which may include but are not limited to the following:
- Temporomandibular Disorders
- Myofascial Pain
- Muscle Spasm
- Oral Pain from teeth, gums, or bones
- Craniofacial Pain Syndromes like:
- Temporal Tendonitis
- Ernest Syndrome
- Hamular Bursitis
- Occipital Neuritis
- Arthritis (TMJ and Cervical)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Muscle movement Disorders (Dystonias)
Diagnosis of Orofacial Pain
Abnormal cervical relationship
A careful consideration needs to be made in the diagnosis of TMD and orofacial pain which often is time consuming. This is extremely difficult in the everyday dental office which has concerns for clean teeth, cosmetic procedures, fillings, root canals, dentures, tooth whitening, and everything else.
This is the primary reason it can be important to seek out a dentist who spends all of his or her time dealing with only TMD and orofacial pain. By taking into consideration the history and findings of the complete examination and often by using diagnostic blocks of nerves, a proper diagnosis can be made. A proper treatment plan cannot be established without a proper diagnosis, which is what almost 100% of the patients presenting to a TMJ office don’t have when they arrive.
The special needs of the pediatric and geriatric populations are considered when formulating a comprehensive treatment plan for these patients. Dr. McCarty will make a diagnosis on the basis of a detailed assessment of the character of the pain, including: duration, site, severity, character, frequency and periodicity, associated features, initiating factors and relieving factors.
We will take a medical and dental history to determine if any trauma has occurred in the facial area, perform a physical examination to examine your temporomandibular joint and look at head and neck structure. Maintaining or correcting your bite ensures optimal health and proper care, which will help reduce or eliminate orofacial pain or discomfort.
Treatment of Orofacial pain
At the offices of TMJ Diagnostics and Dental Sleep Medicine of North Texas, we have on-site a variety of treatments that will help alleviate your oral facial symptoms. One device is called a splint that is worn over the teeth until the bite can be stabilized.
- High Voltage Stimulation
- Spray and Stretch
- Trigger Point Injections
- Cold laser
Teeth in proper alignment
The role that Dr. McCarty serves is a consultant to other dentists and physicians, but also, he 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, direction of a multidisciplinary team, coordination of care with other healthcare providers and consultative services to public and private agencies pursuant to optimal healthcare delivery to the patient suffering from a painful disorder.