Aims: To determine orofacial pain (OFP) characteristics, associated disability, and effect on quality of life in elderly community-dwelling Chinese people.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey involving elderly people registered with the Family Medicine Unit of the University of Hong Kong served as the sampling frame. Elderly people with recent OFP symptoms and a comparison control group without OFP participated. Standard questions were asked about OFP conditions in the previous month and the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), and pain-related disability questions were administered prior to a standard clinical examination.
Results: Ninety-five people with OFP and 100 people without OFP participated. The median number of pain symptoms per subject was 2.0. Toothache was the most common symptom (58.9%); shooting pain across the face and muscle tenderness were the least common (6.3%). More than half of the pain participants described moderate to severe OFP. The prevalences of patients with neurological/vascular (NV), musculoligamentous/soft tissue (MST), or dentoalveolar (DA) OFP were 35.8%, 33.7%, and 30.5%, respectively. Chronic OFP was common (80%). The mean OHIP-14 summary score was significantly higher in OFP subjects than controls (P < .001) and significantly higher in the MST and DA subgroups than in the NV subgroup (P < .001). GHQ scores of ¡Ý 4, indicating greater psychological distress, were more common in OFP subjects than controls (P < .01). Twenty percent of OFP subjects indicated that their conditions interfered with daily life activities, and in 9.9% it affected ability to work.
Conclusion: OFP had a substantial detrimental impact on daily life activities, psychological distress level, and quality of life in Chinese elders. MST and DA conditions had the greatest adverse impact on quality of life. J Orofac Pain 2007;21:63¨C71
Key words: disability, elderly Chinese, orofacial pain, psychological distress, quality of life