Orofacial pain

Wheaton cosmetic dentist Bryan Bauer

Orofacial pain experts

Orofacial pain experts are a newer sub-specialty that treat chronic pain patients without the dental blinders. I have great respect for those that have training through a University program as they are almost always more in line with how the medical field treats chronic pain.

Orofacial pain professional organization

The American Academy of Orofacial Pain is the profession that deals with chronic pain patients in the dental field. They have several designations that show how much training they have in the field. Their website will let you look up doctors in your area that deal with orofacial pain and tell you what their credentials are.

Orofacial pain general information

Chronic pain arises due to the nervous systems neuroplasticity (Greene JADA June 2009).  Neuroplasticity is what allows us to learn and adapt to our environment but it also can “learn” a pain signal and not forget it.  In other words the pain becomes hard-wired.

Allodynia – sensation of pain from nonnoxious stimulus (like touching skin when have a sunburn)
Hyperalgesia – sensation of pain greater than usual from a noxious stimulus and felt over wider area

What is the link to depression? Well since chronic pain is almost always correlated with depression it is not a surprise that orofacial pain is also linked to depression. Depression but not anxiety study

Antidepressant research – inconclusive EBD

Further references for orofacial pain


Beware the structuralists


If you are suffering from chronic pain in the face, mouth, or throat then I highly recommend checking out a doctor from the AAOP website. Finding one that only practices orofacial pain is difficult because it is difficult work. It takes a real passion to get into the field and is very hard on the doctor because treating chronic pain is not very successful and few individuals want to do something for a livelihood that doesn’t work very well. Also the cases are difficult to manage and the patients are difficult to diagnosis. Bottom line is it is very hard work with very little reward in terms of financial or in successful outcomes of your work. I do not treat chronic pain patients but do feel a great deal of empathy for their plight. I truly wish anyone suffering with this the very best of luck.