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      The challenge of diagnosing atypical odontalgia. Case report Translated title: O desafio para o diagnóstico da odontalgia atípica. Relato de caso

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          ABSTRACT BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Atypical odontalgia is characterized by continuous pain that persists for more than three months in one or more teeth or in the socket after extraction, without apparent dental and neurological causes, with transient pain relief and worsening within a few days or even weeks in patients undergoing extensive dental treatment. These patients are at risk of going through unnecessary dental/surgical procedures, which would worsen their pain. This article aims to report a difficult case of atypical odontalgia diagnosis of a patient that underwent extensive dental treatment accompanied by severe pain. CASE REPORT: A 57-year-old female patient with severe and excruciating pain in the right maxillary region of no identified source. After an endodontic retreatment on teeth 14 and 16, the pain worsened suggesting traumatic pericementitis or reaction to the intracanal drug used. Since the pain did not improve, a pulpectomy on 13 was performed. However, the pain increased significantly, and after an evaluation by volumetric computed tomography, a paraendodontic surgery was performed, but the pain irradiated to the ocular fundus and the maxillary region. The absence of neurological, ophthalmological, and otorhinolaryngological alterations led to the diagnosis of atypical odontalgia. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of atypical odontalgia is difficult, requiring a multidisciplinary approach listening to the patient’s complaint, and, in case of doubt, avoid any procedures not to worsen pain and turn it chronic.

          Translated abstract

          RESUMO JUSTIFICATIVA E OBJETIVOS: A odontalgia atípica caracteriza-se por dor contínua que persiste por mais de três meses em um ou mais dentes ou no alvéolo após extração, sem causas dentárias e neurológicas aparentes, com alívio transitório, e piora da dor dentro de poucos dias ou até semanas, em pacientes com amplo tratamento odontológico. A dificuldade para o diagnóstico pode levar a procedimentos odontológicos desnecessários e mutiladores, com piora e/ou cronificação da dor. Este artigo tem como objetivo relatar um caso de difícil diagnóstico de odontalgia atípica em paciente submetida a extenso tratamento odontológico. RELATO DO CASO: Paciente do sexo feminino, 57 anos, apresentava queixa de dor lancinante em região maxilar direita cuja origem não identificava. Após retratamento endodôntico dos dentes 14 e 16, houve piora da dor sugerindo pericementite traumática ou reação a fármaco intracanal. Como a dor não melhorou foi realizada uma pulpectomia no dente 13. Entretanto, a dor aumentou e após tomografia computadorizada volumétrica foi realizada cirurgia parendodôntica, porém a dor irradiou para fundo do olho direito e região maxilar. A ausência de alterações neurológicas, oftalmológicas e otorrinolaringológicas permitiram diagnosticar a odontalgia atípica. CONCLUSÃO: O diagnóstico é difícil, sendo recomendada a abordagem multidisciplinar, valorizar a queixa do paciente e, em casos de dúvida, evitar quaisquer procedimentos para não piorar e cronificar a dor.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Predictive models of pain following root canal treatment: a prospective clinical study.

          To determine the probability of the incidence, intensity, duration and triggering of post-endodontic pain, considering factors related to the patient (age, gender, medical evaluation) and to the affected tooth (group, location, number of canals, pulp vitality, preoperative pain, periapical radiolucencies, previous emergency access, presence of occlusal contacts with antagonist).
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            An update on pathophysiological mechanisms related to idiopathic oro-facial pain conditions with implications for management.

            Chronic oro-facial pain conditions such as persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP), atypical odontalgia (AO) and burning mouth syndrome (BMS), usually grouped together under the concept of idiopathic oro-facial pain, remain a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Lack of understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of these pain conditions is one of the important reasons behind the problems in diagnostic and management. During the last two decades, neurophysiological, psychophysical, brain imaging and neuropathological methods have been systematically applied to study the trigeminal system in idiopathic oro-facial pain. The findings in these studies have provided evidence for neuropathic involvement in the pathophysiology of PIFP, AO and BMS. The present qualitative review is a joint effort of a group of oro-facial pain specialists and researchers to appraise the literature on idiopathic oro-facial pain with special focus on the currently available studies on their pathophysiological mechanisms. The implications of the findings of these studies for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of idiopathic oro-facial pain conditions are discussed.
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              Somatosensory abnormalities in atypical odontalgia: A case-control study.

              Somatosensory function in patients with persistent idiopathic types of orofacial pain like atypical odontalgia (AO) is not well described. This study tested the hypothesis that AO patients have significantly more somatosensory abnormalities than age- and sex-matched controls. Forty-six AO patients and 35 controls participated. Inclusion criteria for AO were pain in a region where a tooth had been endodontically or surgically treated, persistent pain >6 months, and lack of clinical and radiological findings. The examination included qualitative tests and a battery of intraoral quantitative sensory testing (QST). Most AO patients (85%) had qualitative somatosensory abnormality compared with few controls (14%). The most common qualitative abnormalities in AO patients were found with pin-prick 67.4%, cold 47.8%, and touch 46.5% compared with 11.4%, 8.6%, and 2.9%, respectively, in the control group (P<0.001). Between-group differences were seen for many intraoral QST: mechanical detection threshold, mechanical pain threshold (pinprick), dynamic mechanical allodynia (brush), dynamic mechanical allodynia (vibration), wind-up ratio, and pressure pain threshold (P<0.01). In the trigeminal area, between-group differences in thermal thresholds were nonsignificant while differences in cold detection at the thenar eminence were significant. Individual somatosensory profiles revealed complex patterns with hyper- and hyposensitivity to intraoral QST. Between-group differences in pressure pain thresholds (P<0.02) were observed at the thenar eminence. In conclusion, significant abnormalities in intraoral somatosensory function were observed in AO, which may reflect peripheral and central sensitization of trigeminal pathways. More generalized sensitization of the nociceptive system may also be part of AO pathophysiology.

                Author and article information

                Sociedade Brasileira para o Estudo da Dor (São Paulo, SP, Brazil )
                March 2020
                : 3
                : 2
                : 185-188
                São Paulo São Paulo orgnameUniversidade Cruzeiro do Sul orgdiv1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Odontologia Brazil
                Osasco SP orgnameFaculdade Anhanguera de Osasco Brasil
                S2595-31922020000200185 S2595-3192(20)00300200185

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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