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Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:563786. doi: 10.1155/2014/563786. Epub 2014 Jun 4.

Differential diagnostics of pain in the course of trigeminal neuralgia and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

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Department of Dental Prosthetics, Consulting Room of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunctions, Medical College, Jagiellonian University, 4 Montelupich Street, 31-155 Krakow, Poland.
Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, Medical College, Jagiellonian University, 1 Zlotej Jesieni Street, 31-826 Krakow, Poland.
Department of Dental Surgery, Wroclaw Medical University, 26 Krakowska Street, 50-425 Wroclaw, Poland.


Chronic oral and facial pain syndromes are an indication for intervention of physicians of numerous medical specialties, while the complex nature of these complaints warrants interdisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic approach. Oftentimes, lack of proper differentiation of pain associated with pathological changes of the surrounding tissues, neurogenic pain, vascular pain, or radiating pain from idiopathic facial pain leads to improper treatment. The objective of the paper is to provide detailed characterization of pain developing in the natural history of trigeminal neuralgia and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, with particular focus on similarities accounting for the difficulties in diagnosis and treatment as well as on differences between both types of pain. It might seem that trigeminal neuralgia can be easily differentiated from temporomandibular joint dysfunction due to the acute, piercing, and stabbing nature of neuralgic pain occurring at a single facial location to spread along the course of the nerve on one side, sometimes a dozen or so times a day, without forewarning periods. Both forms differ significantly in the character and intensity of pain. The exact analysis of the nature, intensity, and duration of pain may be crucial for the differential diagnostics of the disorders of our interest.

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