Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 17 (4), 253-263

Pain Measurement in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery


Pain Measurement in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Nattapong Sirintawat et al. J Dent Anesth Pain Med.


Regardless of whether it is acute or chronic, the assessment of pain should be simple and practical. Since the intensity of pain is thought to be one of the primary factors that determine its effect on a human's overall function and sense, there are many scales to assess pain. The aim of the current article was to review pain intensity scales that are commonly used in dental and oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS). Previous studies demonstrated that multidimensional scales, such as the McGill Pain Questionnaire, Short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire, and Wisconsin Brief Pain Questionnaire were suitable for assessing chronic pain, while unidimensional scales, like the Visual Analogue Scales (VAS), Verbal descriptor scale, Verbal rating scale, Numerical rating Scale, Faces Pain Scale, Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale (WBS), and Full Cup Test, were used to evaluate acute pain. The WBS is widely used to assess pain in children and elderly because other scales are often difficult to understand, which could consequently lead to an overestimation of the pain intensity. In dental or OMFS research, the use of the VAS is more common because it is more reliable, valid, sensitive, and appropriate. However, some researchers use NRS to evaluate OMFS pain in adults because this scale is easier to use than VAS and yields relatively similar pain scores. This review only assessed pain scales used for post-operative OMFS or dental pain.

Keywords: McGill Pain Scale; Oral and Maxillofacial Pain; Pain Measurement; Toothache; Visual Analogue Pain Scale.

Conflict of interest statement

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: The authors have no conflicts of interest. CONFLICT OF INTEREST: none ETHICS APPROVAL: not required


Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Modified of McGill Pain Questionnaire. The McGill Pain Questionnaire. The descriptors fall into four major groups: sensory (S), 1–10; affective (A), 11–15; evaluative (E), 16; and miscellaneous (M), 17–20. The rank value for each descriptor is based on its position in the word set. The sum of the rank values is the pain rating index (PRI). The present pain intensity (PPI) is based on a scale of 0–5.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. The visual analog scale (VAS).
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. Heft-Parker visual analog scale (HPS).
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. Numerical rating Scale (NRS) [14].
Fig. 5
Fig. 5. Faces Pain Scale (FPS) (modified of Faces Pain Scale) [15].
Top: Faces Pain Scale scored 0 to 6. Bottom: Faces Pain Scale-Revised, scored 0-2-4-6-8-10 (or 0-1-2-3-4-5).
Fig. 6
Fig. 6. Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale (WBS) (modified Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale) [16].
Fig. 7
Fig. 7. Full Cup Test [18].

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 PubMed Central articles


    1. Todd KH, Ducharme J, Choiniere M, Crandall CS, Fosnocht DE, Homel P, et al. Pain in the emergency department: results of the pain and emergency medicine initiative (PEMI) multicenter study. J Pain. 2007;8:460–466. - PubMed
    1. Merskey H. Classification of chronic pain: description of chronic pain syndromes and definition of pain terms. Pain. 1986;(Suppl 3):S1–S225. - PubMed
    1. McAloon C, O'Connor PC, Boyer M. Patient's perception of pain on admission and discharge from the emergency department. N J Nurse. 2003;33:7. - PubMed
    1. Closs SJ, Gardiner E, Briggs M. Outcomes of a nursing intervention to improve postoperative pain at night. Acute Pain: Int J Acute Pain Manag. 1998;1:22–31.
    1. Briggs M, Closs JS. A descriptive study of the use of visual analogue scales and verbal rating scales for the assessment of postoperative pain in orthopedic patients. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1999;18:438–446. - PubMed