What is facial pain?
Facial pain, or orofacial pain, refers to any kind of pain or discomfort in the area of the mouth and face. Often, the pain will present in the region of the trigeminal nerve, which is the nerve that supplies the frontal part of the head and divides into the ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular nerves. The pain may be mucosal, dental, or masticatory. Mucous orofacial pain is usually caused by tobacco, alcohol, or dentures. Dental pain usually originates from decay, and masticatory pain is related to bruxism, joint injuries, and loss of teeth.
The causes and symptoms of facial pain are highly variable, so there is no exact prognosis as this will depend on each case and how the patient progresses with treatment. Despite this, there are several techniques and treatments that allow pain relief and allow patients to continue with their daily life.
Symptoms of facial pain
Symptoms of facial pain reside mainly in the facial and oral area, causing headache or jaw pain, clicking when opening the mouth, difficulty opening or closing it, the feeling of mandibular dislocation, worn teeth and nasal symptoms such as a runny nose or nasal congestion, amongst others.
How is facial pain diagnosed?
For facial pain to be correctly diagnosed, the specialist would assess the clinical history of the patient and, on occasions, request other complementary tests such as X-rays and an MRI scan.
What are the causes of facial pain?
The most common causes of facial pain are:
- Burning mouth syndrome
- TMJ disorder
- Headaches such as migraine and tension headache
- Periodontal disease
- Traumatic injury
- Eagle syndrome
Facial pain can have varied symptoms that can be confused with other diseases.
Can facial pain be prevented?
The prevention of facial pain involves trying to avoid its main risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol and tooth decay, amongst others. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and brush your teeth frequently to maintain good oral health.
Treatment for facial pain
Treatment of facial pain will depend on each case, although the specialist usually uses techniques with intraoral devices such as splints, RFA, surgery, manual therapy with physiotherapy, tension control techniques, orthodontic treatments, and prosthetic reconstruction. The final objective of the process is functional, it will try to regain the functionality of the jaw and to fight pain.
Facial pain medications
The medication for the treatment of this problem will always be according to the prescription of the specialist who takes the patient's case and history into account. Medications aim to relieve pain and allow the patient to continue with their daily life as normal.