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JADA - Frequency of Orofacial Pain in Dental Patients

October 2015 

Prevalence of pain in the orofacial regions in patients visiting general dentists in the Northwest Practice-based Research Collaborative in Evidence-based dentistry research network

Orapin V. Horst, DDS, MS, MSD, PhDcorrespondenceemail, Joana Cunha-Cruz, DDS, PhD Lingmei Zhou, PhD, Walter Manning, DMD, Lloyd Mancl, PhD, Timothy A. DeRouen, PhD

Abstract

Background This study aimed to measure prevalence of pain in the orofacial regions and determine association with demographics, treatment history, and oral health conditions in dental patients visiting clinics in the Northwest Practice-based REsearch Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry (PRECEDENT) research network.

Methods Data were recorded in a survey with systematic random sampling of patients (n = 1,668, 18 to 93 years old, 56% female) visiting 100 general dentists in the Northwest PRECEDENT research network. Prevalence ratios (PR) of orofacial pain by each variable were estimated by generalized estimating equations for Poisson regression.

Results The prevalence of orofacial pain during the past year was 16.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.4-18.9), of which the most prevalent pain locations were dentoalveolar (9.1%; 95% CI, 7.0-11.2) and musculoligamentous tissues (6.6%; 95% CI, 4.5-8.7). Other locations included soft tissues (0.5%; 95% CI, 0.2-0.8) and nonspecific areas (0.6%; 95% CI, 0.2-1.0). The prevalence of dentoalveolar but not musculoligamentous pain decreased with age. When comparing the 18- to 29-year-old patients, dentoalveolar pain decreased significantly in 45- to 64-year-old patients (PR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9) and in those 65 years or older (PR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.9). Sex significantly affected the prevalence of musculoligamentous but not dentoalveolar pain. Women (PR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.0-5.1) were more likely to have musculoligamentous pain. The prevalence of dentoalveolar and musculoligamentous pain did not vary significantly by ethnicity. Dentoalveolar pain was reported more frequently in patients who did not receive dental maintenance (PR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.1-4.2) and those visiting community-based public health clinics (PR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-3.7).

Conclusions One in 6 patients visiting a general dentist had experienced orofacial pain during the past year. Dentoalveolar and musculoligamentous pains were the most prevalent types of pain.

Practical Implications Pain in the muscles and temporomandibular joints was reported as frequently as that in the teeth and surrounding tissues in patients visiting general dentists. Although the dental curriculum is concentrated on the diagnosis and management of pain and related conditions from teeth and surrounding tissues, it is imperative to include the training for other types of orofacial pain, particularly those from temporomandibular joint and musculoligamentous tissues.

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Assessment & Treatment
  • Assessment Process
  • Treatment Process
  • Only Dental Professionals
  • Assessing DMSD
  • Bite Force Analysis
  • Mandibular Range of Motion
  • Cervical Range of Motion

Only Dental Professionals

In many cases, only dental professionals can help the estimated 80 million Americans suffering from the painful symptoms caused by improper dental forces, called dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction (DMSD).

READ MORE "...it is imperative to include the training for orofacial pain, particularly those from temporomandibular joint and musculoligamentous tissues.” JADA Cover Story, 10/2015, Vol. 146, Issue 10, Pg. 721-728

Assessing DMSD

20% of your existing patients suffer from DMSD, as do 20% of all Americans. Your team members quickly assess patients for "red flags" (which indicate DMSD), utilizing TruDenta's patented technologies.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from one or more of the symptoms of DMSD, including:
• Chronic Headache
• Migraine
• Tinnitus
• TMJ/D
• Vertigo
READ MORE

Bite Force Analysis

TruDenta uses digital force measurement technology, powered by Tekscan®, for evaluating the amount of bite force that is present during closure, at closure, and while chewing. The technology is so advanced that it actually calculates the bite force and motion on a tooth-by-tooth basis. This digital exam literally shows a movie of the bite force in action revealing abnormal forces in the nerves, muscles and ligaments that are often the cause of symptoms.

Bite balance is also calculated to identify potential issues within the overall chewing system. READ MORE

Mandibular Range of Motion

A normal opening for an adult is 53 mm to 57 mm. Limited or restricted range of motion (less than 40 mm) is a reduction in an individual’s ability for normal range of movement. Along with opening movement, an individual should be able to slide their jaw to the left and to the right at least 25 percent of their total mouth opening in a symmetrical fashion.

When restricted movement exists, an imbalance in the system is present, and breakdown of the system is likely to occur. READ MORE

Cervical Range of Motion

The TruDentaROM is a system of hardware and software that digitally measures cervical range of motion (ROM) impairment based upon AMA guidelines. This directly affects the proprioceptive feedback system of the dental occlusion, TMJ, and the muscles of mastication.

ROM impairment is another “red flag” which assists doctors in accurately diagnosing symptoms that are often dental force related. This data enhances medical insurance collections and the collaboration with referring medical doctors. READ MORE

  • Doctor Chair Time
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Microcurrent Stimulation
  • Low-Level Cold Laser

Less Than One Hour Doctor Chair Time

A typical case requires less than one hour of doctor time in the diagnosis and minor occlusal adjustments during the rehabilitation period.

Treatments are performed by a trained team member once per week, in less than one hour. The most severe cases require 12 treatments. Therapies are spa-like, non-invasive and require no drugs or needles. Most patients report dramatic results after the very fist treatment. Note: The majority of patients utilize an orthotic only during the treatment period, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. READ MORE

Therapeutic Ultrasound

The goal of therapeutic ultrasound treatment is to return circulation to sore, strained muscles through increased blood flow and heat. Another goal is to break up scar tissue and deep adhesions through sound waves.

Therapeutic exposure to ultrasound reduces trigger point sensitivity and has been indicated as a useful clinical tool for managing myofacial pain. Additionally, ultrasound also has been shown to evoke antinociceptive effects on trigger points. READ MORE

Microcurrent Stimulation

Sub-threshold microcurrent stimula¬tion reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal. It also decreases lactic acid build-up and encourages healthy nerve stimulation. In particular, microcurrent electrotherapy has been shown to help increase mouth opening significantly.

• Reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal
• Decreases lactic acid build-up
• Encourages healthy nerve stimulation
• Increases mouth opening significantly
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Low-Level Cold Laser

Low level laser/light therapy is one of the most widely used treatments in sports medicine to provide pain relief and rehabilitation of injuries. Over 200 randomized clinical trials have been published on low level laser therapy, half of which are on pain.

Low level laser/light therapy decreases pain and inflammation, accelerates healing of muscle and joint tissue 25 to 35 percent faster than without treatment, and reconnects neurological pathways of nerves to the brain stem, thereby inhibiting pain. READ MORE

Additional Content & Resources
Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
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Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
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