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What is Orofacial Pain?

Orofacial pain can manifest itself in many ways, but essentially this can encompass pain in the head and neck region. The symptoms of orofacial pain could include dizziness, tingling in the head and neck, abnormal itching, muscular incoordination, ringing in the ears, or other aches and sensations in the neck and head. It includes headaches, facial burning, and pain in the neck, ears, jaw, or mouth. 

What are the Causes of Orofacial Pain?

This kind of pain can be a result of another primary issue. Most often, orofacial pain is due to a dental issue, but many problems can lead to this kind of pain. It may be due to:

  • TMJ or TMD—aka temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This disorder causes pain jaw joint and the muscles around the jaw. It can lead to difficulty chewing and cause a clicking or locking in the jaw. 
  • Sleeping Disorders—poor sleep quality can lead to orofacial pain. Many different kinds of sleep disorders can cause other issues. 
  • Cervicalgia—neck pain that can also lead to pain in the mouth and face. 
  • Malignancy—malignancy is a malignant tumor or cancer. As a result of this tumor, you may experience pain in the neck and head. 
  • Orofacial Dyskinesia—a condition of the nervous system that causes involuntary repetitive movements in the face and mouth. 
  • Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain Disorder—pain caused by an injured nerve that sends impulses to the brain. It can be dull or boring pain. 
  • Other Trauma—any trauma to the head or neck region can lead to orofacial pain. 
  • Muscular Disorders—can be an aching or dull pain manifested through a muscle injury or strain—also known as myalgia. 

Diagnosis and Treatment 

So much of orofacial pain ins due to an oral health issue—because of this it can be diagnosed by a dentist or oral surgeon. It may be diagnosed by pain in the tooth, soft or hard tissue, or in the face and jaw. It can also be diagnosed due to hot and cold sensitivity, and sensitivity to pressure and chewing. To diagnose orofacial pain, there is usually a physical exam. It can be shown through discoloration, swelling, bleeding, sores, visible trauma, and lacerations. 

Treatment will differ based on the cause of orofacial pain. Treating pain due to TMJ will look different than treating pain due to oral trauma or a broken tooth. Most treatments will include some pain killers and often some oral surgery.

For the best oral surgery experience, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah.  Our experienced team will ensure your safety and comfort as they work to help you heal. 

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