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Volume 20 , Issue 3
Summer 2006

Pages 218225

Prevalence of Orofacial Pain and Treatment Seeking in Hong Kong Chinese

Anne S. McMillan, BDS, PhD / May C. M. Wong, BSocSci, MPhil, PhD / Jun Zheng, BDS / Cindy L. K. Lam, MBBS, MD

PMID: 16913431

Aims: To estimate the prevalence and pattern of self-reported orofacial pain symptoms and treatment-seeking behavior in adult Cantonese-speaking Chinese people in Hong Kong. Methods: A cross-sectional population survey involving a telephone survey technique was used to identify 1,222 randomly selected Cantonese-speaking people aged at least 18 years. Standard questions were asked on the experience of 8 orofacial pain symptoms in the previous month and on treatment-seeking behavior. Results: Orofacial pain symptoms were reported by 41.6% of respondents when tooth sensitivity was included and by 24.2% when it was excluded. There was no gender- or age-related difference in pain prevalence (P > .010). Tooth sensitivity was the most common symptom (27.7%), followed by toothache (12.5%), and shooting pain in the face was the least common (1.1%). Almost half those with symptoms reported the pain as moderate to severe, and a fifth had frequent pain. Only 20.3% with pain symptoms sought professional treatment, and use of self-prescribed medication was very low (12.4%). Conclusion: Orofacial pain symptoms appear to affect more than a quarter of the adult population in Hong Kong, and prevalence estimates were consistent with those in Western countries. A substantial proportion of the pain symptoms were frequent and of moderate to severe intensity, with the potential for significant morbidity. Professional treatment seeking was very low and may be related to specific pain behaviors and effective coping strategies in this ethnic group. J Orofac Pain 2006;20:218225

Key words: epidemiology, orofacial, pain, prevalence, treatment seeking

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