PDF: Chronic idiopathic orofacial pain: I - What is the evidence base?


Chronic idiopathic orofacial pain is currently a problem for the specialists, but is this type of disorder peculiar to the face, and is there a role for the general dental practitioner?. 


This article reviews the current understanding and management of medically unexplained syndromes and discusses their application in facial pain.


A second article will merge this contemporary theory and clinical evidence into a management strategy, and stress the importance of early intervention in the primary care setting.

In brief
• Disparate modes of treatment are largely equivalent in efficacy.
• Psychological distress is likely to follow the onset of pain rather than vice versa.
• Facial pain has many features in common with other chronic pain conditions.
• Education and self-management are of proven benefit in chronic pain.


Chronic idiopathic orofacial pain is a clinical construct which is recognised by anaesthetists, psychiatrists and neurologists, but less familiar to the dental profession. 

It is an ill-understood group of conditions which may involve the whole of the mouth and face.



Unfortunately, descriptions of disorders tend to be influenced by the background of the specialist assessing the patient.




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