What is orofacial pain?

Orofacial pain is one of the leading causes of pain in the world responsible for one of the greatest number of medical visits. The range of orofacial pain is very vast. It goes from the simple headache to the most excruciating migraine, from jaw clicking and cracking to neck pain, from trigeminal neuralgia to earaches. In some cases, this pain could be caused by muscle tension related (or not) to stress and or Bruxism.

Bruxism (Grinding and/or clenching of teeth) is often linked to pain in the muscles of mastication, jaw joints, head or neck. Resulting in difficulty on opening the mouth, clicking in the jaw joints, problem chewing, pressure in the ears or even simply by or more or less severe headaches as well as sensitive or worn teeth.

Many recent studies have linked bruxism and sleep apnea in certain cases. Other important factors are arthritis/arthrosis, fibromyalgia, occlusal problems, anatomical disharmonies as well as wrong posture or bad habits; nail biting, gum chewing, leaning on jaw.


The consultation and complete examination lasts usually 45 minutes. In order to help establishing the diagnosis, a panoramic imaging or 3D Scan could be taken on the premises. With digital radiography, the amount of radiation emitted is reduced significantly. If deemed necessary a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be prescribed to give a clearer picture of the soft tissues involved.


Depending on the type of disorder and/or pain, many treatment options are available. For the vast majority of patients, non invasive and reversible treatments are adequate. They might include;

  • Une prise de conscience de la part du patient
  • Medication such as Anti-inflammatories, Muscle relaxants and Chronic pain medication
  • Physiotherapy, osteopathy, manual therapy, stretching exercises and if indicated postural therapy
  • Stress management

Frequently an occlusal splint (see picture) might be prescribed to

  • Decrease muscle/joint pain pressure
  • Protect teeth
  • Control Bruxism's side effects

The dentist will evaluate if occlusion is a factor in the disorder and if necessary will recommend the adequate dental treatment.

If a surgical consultation is needed, Dr. Arcache works in close collaboration with Maxillofacial surgeons specializing in TMD.