Diagnosis of Dental Pain & Infection

woman holding icepack to her jaw

Orofacial pain is a collective term used for a number of complex orofacial pain and dysfunction disorders, which include dentoalveolar “dental” pain, neuropathic pain, nonodontogenic tooth pain, musculoskeletal pain, neurovascular pain, referred pain, headache, oromotor dysfunction, and mandibular behavioral disorders, all of which may results in symptoms of orofacial pain. The most common orofacial pain disorder involves dentaoalveolar or “dental” pain.

When people experience orofacial pain, their first call is often to their dentist or physician. Many different conditions will present with similar symptoms or symptoms that radiate to other areas often making it difficult to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Without a correct diagnosis, it is virtually impossible to provide the care necessary to alleviate a person’s pain or source of infection.  The vast majority of all orofacial pain is dentoalveolar “dental” pain which is caused by an organic problem such as dental caries, dental abscess, cracked teeth, pulpitis, periodontitis or trauma, which when identified have many effective treatments to alleviate the pain and source of infection if present.  Patients may also present with pain that appears to be from a dental problem but has a non-dental origin such as musculoskeletal pain or neurogenic pain, both of which may present with similar symptoms as dental pain.  Since dental pain accounts for the majority of all orofacial pain experienced by patients it is important to first identify if pain is from a dental cause.

Dr. Wilson and Dr. Shurtz are endodontists who specialize in the identification and diagnosis of dentoalveolar “dental” pain and infection.  When patients present with orofacial pain, identifying the cause of pain is the initial step in providing care or referring patients for the appropriate care they need.  In our practice we take great pride in our ability to help patients determine if their pain is caused from a dental problem and providing an accurate diagnosis so that effective dental treatment may be provided.  If pain is determined to be of non-dental origins, this information is extremely vital for patients in pursuing appropriate care.