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Pain. 2004 Nov;112(1-2):164-70.

Chronic orofacial pain among Korean elders: prevalence, and impact using the graded chronic pain scale.

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Department of Oral Medicine and Oral Diagnosis, College of Dentistry, Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University, 28-22 Yunkeun-Dong, Chongro-Ku, Seoul 110-749, South Korea.


The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence of orofacial pain symptoms in the Korean elderly population, and to evaluate factors associated with orofacial pain and graded chronic pain. Of 4,342 Korean elders from the cohort of Korean National Interview Survey of Oral Health Status in 2000, telephone interviews were conducted on a stratified random sample of 1,032 people aged 55 years or older. Prevalence of five orofacial pain symptoms (jaw joint pain, face pain, toothache, oral sores, and burning mouth) in the past 6 months along with questions from the graded chronic pain scale were assessed by telephone using a structured questionnaire. The results suggested that the 6-month prevalence of joint pain (15.5%), face pain (9.3%), toothache (26.8%), oral sores (26.2%), and burning mouth (14.2%) in Korean elders were higher than in studies on Caucasian populations. Painful oral sores and burning mouth had higher prevalence for females than for males. Subjects with joint pain, burning mouth or toothache pain were more likely to report high levels of a pain-related disability compared with subjects not reporting those symptoms. There were no age group differences in pain intensity, but the older age group reported a higher number of disability days because of their pain. Chronic orofacial pain is a substantial health problem in the elderly population.

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