Orofacial Pain

The Definition of Orofacial Pain Dentistry by the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP)

The Orofacial Pain field is dedicated to the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders of the head, face and neck. Orofacial pain is not a specialty practice that is currently defined by the American Dental Association or accredited as a specialty program with the Commission on Dental Accreditation. However, our general dentists have obtained additional education, training and experience in the area of orofacial pain

The diagnosis of painful syndromes relies on interpretation of historical data; review of laboratory studies, imaging, and electrodiagnostic studies; behavioral, social, occupational and avocational assessment; interview and examination by the orofacial pain dentist; and may require specialized diagnostic procedures, including central and peripheral neural blockade or monitored drug infusions. The special needs of the pediatric and geriatric populations are considered when formulating a comprehensive treatment plan for these patients.

We serve as a consultant to other dentists and physicians but are often the principal treating health care provider and may provide care at various levels. Some treatments include: direct treatment, prescribing medication, prescribing rehabilitative services, performing pain relieving procedures, counseling of patients and families, direction of a multidisciplinary team.  We also coordinate care with other health care providers and consultative services to public and private agencies pursuant to optimal health care delivery to the patient suffering from a painful disorder.

Orofacial pain is evolving; the scope of the field is enlarging. At the present time the orofacial pain encompasses

  • Masticatory musculoskeletal pain
  • Cervical musculoskeletal pain
  • Neurovascular pain (Migraine, Cluster Headaches, etc.)
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Sleep disorders related to orofacial pain
  • Orofacial Dystonias
  • Intraoral, intracranial, extracranial, and systemic disorders that cause orofacial pain