Most dental pain is caused by an organic problem such as dental caries, periodontitis, pulpitis, or trauma. Diagnosis and treatment of these symptoms are relatively straightforward. However, patients often also complain of abnormal dental pain that has a non-dental origin, whose diagnosis is challenging. Such abnormal dental pain can be categorized on the basis of its cause as referred pain, neuromodulatory pain, and neuropathic pain. When it is difficult to diagnose a patient's dental pain, these potential alternate causes should be considered. In this clinical review, we have presented a case of referred pain from the digastric muscle (Patient 1), of pulpectomized (Patient 2), and of pulpectomized pain (Patient 3) to illustrate referred, neuromodulatory, and neuropathic pain, respectively. The Patient 1 was advised muscle stretching and gentle massage of the trigger points, as well as pain relief using a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline. The pain in Patient 2 was relieved completely by the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline. In Patient 3, the pain was controlled using either a continuous drip infusion of adenosine triphosphate or intravenous Mg2+ and lidocaine administered every 2 weeks. In each case of abnormal dental pain, the patient's diagnostic chart was used (Fig.2 and 3). Pain was satisfactorily relieved in all cases.
Keywords: Dental pain; Neuromodulation; Neuropathic pain; Referred pain.