Table 1.

Difference in acute orofacial pain and chronic pain orofacial pain

CharacteristicsAcute orofacial painChronic orofacial pain
DurationOnsetSustained, persistent >3 months in humans
CauseCaused by inflammation or injury of tissueCaused by inflammation, nerve damage and excessive or uncontrolled inflammation
Cause has gone away or healedNo pain when normal healing occurs or is only temporary (pain disappears once stimulus is removed)Persistent pain and excessive, uncontrolled causes
Signs and symptomsSudden, sharp, intense, localizedAching, diffused
Physiologic responseAcute pain affects increased cardiovascular functions such as increased blood pressure and heart rate via sympathetic responseChronic pain affects physiological
responses with adaptation behaviors or psychological responses such as depression and anxiety
Examples in the orofacial area(1) Dental pain: pulpitis
(2) Mucogingival pain
(1) Neuropathic pain: trigeminal neuralgia, peripheral trigeminal nerve injury, postherpetic neuralgia
(2) Chronic inflammatory pain: chronic pulpitis and apical lesions, temporomandibular disorder pain
(3) Neurovascular pain: migraines, tension-type headaches