Key Learning Points

• Facial pain problems are common and cover a wide variety of chronic pain problems.

• Facial pain problems share many of the same pathophysiological mechanisms with chronic pain in other parts of the body, but there are some salient differences.

• Diagnosis of facial pain should always include a comprehensive examination of the orofacial region to exclude dental pain conditions.

• Management of facial pain follows similar guidelines as for other chronic pain problems, except for some specific dental procedures and treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.

INTRODUCTION

Facial pain is encountered by a high percentage of the population and has special biological, emotional, and psychological meaning to the patient because of the special role of the orofacial region in vital functions, such as chewing, swallowing, talking, and expression of emotions. In addition, facial pain may lead to emotional and social consequences for the patient and others and represent an increasing socioeconomic burden as the population changes with more people being middle-aged or elderly, the age span in which many chronic facial pain conditions are prevalent. This chapter will describe the most common facial pain conditions that general practitioners and dentists will encounter in their clinic. Thus, the chapter is not an exhaustive review of all chronic facial pain conditions and the reader is referred to more specialized textbooks for more detailed information. 1 2 3

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