Neuropathic orofacial pain: Facts and fiction

Lene Baad-Hansen, Rafael Benoliel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Definition and taxonomy This review deals with neuropathic pain of traumatic origin affecting the trigeminal nerve, i.e. painful post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PTTN). Symptomatology The clinical characteristics of PTTN vary considerably, partly due to the type and extent of injury. Symptoms involve combinations of spontaneous and evoked pain and of positive and negative somatosensory signs. These patients are at risk of going through unnecessary dental/surgical procedures in the attempt to eradicate the cause of the pain, due to the fact that most dentists only rarely encounter PTTN. Epidemiology Overall, approximately 3% of patients with trigeminal nerve injuries develop PTTN. Patients are most often female above the age of 45 years, and both physical and psychological comorbidities are common. Pathophysiology PTTN shares many pathophysiological mechanisms with other peripheral neuropathic pain conditions. Diagnostic considerations PTTN may be confused with one of the regional neuralgias or other orofacial pain conditions. For intraoral PTTN, early stages are often misdiagnosed as odontogenic pain. Pain management Management of PTTN generally follows recommendations for peripheral neuropathic pain. Expert opinion International consensus on classification and taxonomy is urgently needed in order to advance the field related to this condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-679
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


  • Painful post-traumatic trigeminal neuralgia (PTTN)
  • atypical odontalgia
  • neuropathic pain
  • orofacial pain

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