Chronic Orofacial Pain: Burning Mouth Syndrome and Other Neuropathic Disorders

Chronic orofacial pain (COFP) disorders, collectively, affect a large proportion of the population. They can involve dysfunction in multiple systems: musculoskeletal, vascular, neurovascular, neuropathic, idiopathic, and psychogenic. Further, they can present singly or in combination. Even when a COFP disorder is associated with a single cause (e.g., neuropathic), it can present with a range of clinical features. Hence, it is common for COFP patients to consult multiple providers before an accurate diagnosis is made, including primary care providers, dentists, physical therapists, and mental health professionals. While several COFP diagnoses are relatively common (e.g., migraine, tension-type headache, and temporomandibular disorders), other COFP syndromes are less prevalent and are often misdiagnosed.

Chronic Orofacial Pain
Chronic Orofacial Pain

This delays the initiation of effective treatment for years in patients with some of the less common conditions. COFP syndromes may arise from a variety of underlying pathophysiologic causes and are typically categorized as musculoskeletal, vascular, neurovascular, psychogenic, neuropathic (episodic or continuous), and idiopathic.

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