Advanced General Dentistry Education in Orofacial Pain
Orofacial pain , or pain perceived in the face and/or oral cavity, is caused by diseases or disorders of regional structures, by dysfunction of the nervous system, or through referral from distant sources. Although odontogenic pain is the most common source of oral pain, orofacial pain is typically not a primary dental pain disorder. Treatment of orofacial pain involves the basic mechanisms and principles of diagnosis and management of pain and dysfunction associated with the hard and soft tissues of the head, face, neck, and all the intraoral structures.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD), a collective term embracing a number of clinical problems specifically related to the masticatory musculature, the temporomandibular joints and associated structures, or both are also included in the field of orofacial pain.
To become competent in the practice of orofacial pain, the post graduate student must acquire a working knowledge of the basic and clinical science of general and orofacial pain, develop competency in performing a thorough assessment of patients including history taking and physical examination, and the formulation of a management plan. Management of orofacial pain must be evidence-based and consistent with standards of care set forth by the scientific literature.
Evaluation and treatment of orofacial pain is often a shared responsibility between the dentist, physician and other healthcare providers. There is considerable overlap between many medical specialties when treating these often complex patients. We believe that training in oral medicine, which involves the diagnosis and primarily nonsurgical management of local diseases of the oral cavity and surrounding structures as well as oral manifestations of systemic disease, also provides an essential link between the dental and medical practitioner. Based on this philosophy, significant topics in oral medicine are also incorporated into the orofacial pain training programs enabling students the challenging opportunity of integrating and synthesizing basic science and clinical knowledge when applying this training to the patients’ care.
This program is CODA accredited and awards a Master’s degree through the Department of Oral Biology.