Most Common Types of Orofacial Pain

Orofacial pain is a medical term, describing pain experienced in any area of the face. Areas may include face, jaw, mouth, and scalp. If a disease or medical disease affects the oral cavity or face, pain can be experienced.

The mouth is the most common source for this type of pain, with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) being the most common cause. However, identifying the actual cause can be difficult in many cases.

Orofacial pain is not uncommon in society today. Facial pain of some type, affects most of the adult population at one time or another. Though, most cases of these tend to be caused from dental issues such as from a toothache, with the second leading cause being TMJ. Often, TMJ is known as a chronic condition.


Causes of orofacial pain are normally classified in several different categories such as emotional, oral cavity, and neuropathies. Emotional causes can include psychosomatic, depression, and anxiety.

Several physical oral causes include dental abscesses, dental cavities, gingivitis, cracked teeth, tooth hypersensitivity, mouth ulcer, burning mouth syndrome as well as cancer of the mouth. Several reasons for neuropathic pain include trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, headaches, cluster headaches, mental nerve neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.


Identifying the cause of pain can be difficult due to several structures surrounding both the face and mouth. It is hard to pinpoint which ones are causing the pain. However, we have the ability to perform extremely precise diagnoses as well as examinations.

With the advancement of technology for the purpose of interpretation and imaging techniques, we have had the capabilities for several years. Some components used for a diagnosis include a thorough examination, x-rays, CT scans, and an MRI if necessary.

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