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Orofacial Pain - Sources and Symptoms

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Raashi Khatri Panjabi 90% (19ratings)
MD - Orofacial Pain Headaches & Temporomandibular Disorders, BDS
Dentist, Mumbai  •  18years experience
Orofacial Pain - Sources and Symptoms

An unpleasant experience which not only disturbs the usual routine of a person but also the psychological peace and causes extreme discomfort is called pain. When this pain involves the region above the neck, below the orbitomeatal line and in front of the ear is called as orofacial pain.

Multiple causes for orofacial pain may exist and the symptoms may include such diverse findings as headaches, neck pain, ear pain, dental pain, facial burning or stabbing sensations, and jaw joint pain.

The complaints may either develop gradually or have a rapid onset and can originate from musculoskeletal, neurovascular or neuropathic causes.

Sources of orofacial pain may include:

  1. Trigeminal Neuropathy – ant damage or degeneration to the trigeminal nerves that supplies mainly to the facial structures causes the orofacial pain. This is commonly referred as trigeminal neuralgia.

  2. Neurovascular Disorder – migraine is the most common neurovascular disorder that causes the radiating pain to the mouth eyes and other facial muscles.

  3. Temporomandibular Disorder – the major cause of orofacial pain is the temporo mandibular joint disorder which causes pain in the lower jaws. Orofacial pain may also be caused by any temporo mandibular joint surgeries and due to failure of joint replacement surgery of the jaw.

  4. Burning Mouth Syndrome – this condition is caused due to nerve damage, lack of adequate saliva production, fungal infection, certain medications and also noted for patients with diabetes. Orofacial pain is also noted in burning mouth syndrome.

  5. Cervicalgia – pain due to spinal cord injury, damage to spinal nerve, muscle and ligaments may radiate to face and cause orofacial pain.

  6. Trauma – accident is the most common cause of temporomandibular disorder and other spinal disorder that causes orofacial pain.

  7. Sleep disorders – sleep disorders include grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep may also cause orofacial pain.


Though orofacial pain is caused by several factors, its symptoms includes dental pain, ear pain, neck pain, headache, pain in the jaw joint and stabbing sensation over the face. Some patients may also experience burning sensation over the face. Other symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, tinnitus (abnormal ringing or roaring sound in ears), poor muscle coordination, abnormal itching over the face and neck and tingling sensation. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dentist.

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