Orofacial pain education in dentistry: A path to improving patient care and reducing the population burden of chronic pain

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  • Yuri M. Costa
  • Beatrice P. De Koninck, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Canada
  • Sherif M. Elsaraj, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada., Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Canada
  • Fernando G. Exposto
  • Alberto Herrero Babiloni, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada., Canada
  • Flavia P. Kapos, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA, United States
  • Sonia Sharma, Malmö University, Sweden, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA, Sweden
  • Akiko Shimada, Osaka Dental University, Osaka, Japan

Dentists stand in an optimal position to prevent and manage patients suffering from chronic orofacial pain (OFP) disorders, such as temporomandibular disorders, burning mouth syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, persistent idiopathic dentoalveolar pain, among others. However, there are consistent reports highlighting a lack of knowledge and confidence in diagnosing and treating OFP among dental students, recent graduates, and trained dentists, which leads to misdiagnosis, unnecessary costs, delay in appropriate care and possible harm to patients. Education in OFP is necessary to improve the quality of general dental care and reduce individual and societal burden of chronic pain through prevention and improved quality of life for OFP patients. Our aims are to emphasize the goals of OFP education, to identify barriers for its implementation, and to suggest possible avenues to improve OFP education in general, postgraduate, and continuing dental education levels, including proposed minimum OFP competencies for all dentists. Moreover, patient perspectives are also incorporated, including a testimony from a person with OFP. General dentists, OFP experts, educators, researchers, patients, and policy makers need to combine efforts in order to successfully address the urgent need for quality OFP education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Pages (from-to)349-358
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Research areas

  • competencies, dental curriculum, diagnosis, management, temporomandibular disorders

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ID: 201935867