The Problem with Pain
Despite all the advances in dentistry, for the foreseeable future, the problem of pain will remain. Most patients referred for Endodontic treatment will be suffering from acute pain; this is a warning sign serving a protective role. It is time limited and resolves with treatment of the causative factors. Importantly, the nervous system remains intact.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, has no purpose and refers to pain lasting longer than 3 months. It responds poorly to medication and is harder to manage. In addition, changes will have taken place in the nervous system (peripheral and central sensitisation). Therefore, it is imperative that we do everything to prevent chronic pain from developing. Predisposing factors that lead to chronic orofacial pain include a history of previous painful treatment in the orofacial region, and the duration and intensity of pre-operative pain.
It is also important to know when to stop dental treatment, as this can exacerbate the symptoms associated with a chronic pain condition. When given the chance, we have to be certain that any dental cause of the patient’s pain has been completely eliminated to ensure they remain pain-free!