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Volume 8 , Issue 4
Fall 1994

Pages 357-368

Differentiation between musculoligamentous, dentoalveolar, and neurologically based craniofacial pain with a diagnostic questionnaire


PMID: 7670423

A self-administered questionnaire consisting of 21 questions, diagrams for chief pain location, and a digital pain scale was used prospectively to sort 92 patients with orofacial pain into three categories: (1) musculoligamentous (ie, temporomandibular disorders); (2) neurologically based (ie, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, tension-type headache, cluster headache, and atypical facial pain); and (3) dentoalveolar pain. Sensitivity, specificity, as well as negative and positive predictive values suggest that this questionnaire may be used reliably to identify patients with orofacial pain that fits the above-described pain categories without prior knowledge of the clinical diagnosis. Digital pain scale findings indicated that on presentation, pain level could not be correlated with any particular pain category, but when using this scale to describe past pain experience, patients with neurologically based pain selected the highest digital pain scale values up to six times more frequently than patients with musculoligamentous or dentoalveolar pain. Patients with musculoligamentous or dentoalveolar pain selected the lowest digital pain scale values up to 15 times more frequently than those with neurologically based pain. Although this questionnaire may be used for initial categorization of pain, there is still no substitute for a thorough history and clinical examination.

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