Trauma or injury to the dentition and supporting tissues is associated with pain and discomfort, as expected, that may present immediately, shortly afterwards, or within a few days. Pain is an essential response to injury because it allows the organism to develop avoidance behavior to potential threats and helps the organism to avoid usage of the injured organ during the healing process. Not only does external trauma induce pain, but also essential invasive dental procedures such as extractions, dental implant insertions, root canal treatments, and oral surgeries are accompanied by similar post-surgical (post-traumatic) pain. The pain intensity after trauma varies and does not always correlate with the extent of injury. Trauma to the orofacial region or the teeth may also indirectly affect and induce pain in other orofacial structures such as the masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joint, and even the cervical spine. In most cases, the pain will resolve as soon as healing of the affected tissue occurs or after dental and routine palliative treatment. In a limited number of cases, the pain persists beyond healing and evolves into a chronic pain state. Chronic pain in the orofacial region presents diagnostic and management challenges. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of the oral chronic pain condition may lead to unnecessary dental treatment. This article will discuss diagnosis and treatment for acute and chronic pain as well as potential mechanisms involved in the undesirable transition from acute to chronic pain.
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