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Volume 20 , Issue 2
Spring 2006

Pages 107-114


Increased Pain Sensitivity to Intraoral Capsaicin in Patients with Atypical Odontalgia

Lene Baad-Hansen, DDS / Thomas List, DDS, Odont Dr / Troels Staehelin Jensen, MD, PhD, DrSci / Peter Svensson, DDS, PhD, Dr Odont


PMID: 16708828

Aims: To use 2 well-characterized stimuli, the intraoral capsaicin model and the ˇ°nociceptive-specificˇ± electrode, to compare superficial nociceptive function between patients with atypical odontalgia (AO) and matched healthy controls. Furthermore, the authors aimed to describe the sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values (PPV) of the techniques if group differences could be established. Methods: Thirty-eight patients with AO and 27 matched healthy controls participated in this study. Thirty microliters of 5% capsaicin was applied to the gingiva on the left and right sides of all participants as a pain-provocation test. The participants scored the capsaicin-evoked pain continuously on a 0-to-10 visual analog scale (VAS). Furthermore, individual electrical sensory and pain thresholds to stimulation with a ˇ±nociceptive-specificˇ± electrode on the facial skin above the infraorbital or mental nerve were determined. Results: AO patients had higher VAS pain scores for capsaicin application than healthy controls (ANOVA: F > 4.88; P < .029). No differences between the painful sides and the nonpainful sides of the patients were found (ANOVA: F < 1.26; P > .262). No main effects of group or stimulation side on the electrical sensory and pain thresholds were detected (ANOVA: F < 0.309; P > .579). Sensitivity was 0.51; specificity, 0.81; and PPV, 0.77 when a VAS value of ˇÝ 8 for capsaicin-evoked pain was used. Conclusion: AO patients show increased sensitivity to intraoral capsaicin but normal sensitivity to ˇ°nociceptive-specificˇ± electrical stimulation of the face in an area proximal to the painful site. The use of the intraoral pain-provocation test with capsaicin as a possible adjunct to the diagnostic workup is hampered by the only moderately good sensitivity and specificity. J Orofac Pain 2006;20:107¨C114

Key words: atypical odontalgia, capsaicin, neuropathic pain, trigeminal pain


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