UW School of Dentistry


Acute and Chronic Orofacial Pain

David Dean

1 Credit / Quarter 9 (Autumn, Third Year)

Course Description

Essential knowledge and technical information and skills for diagnosis and management of those disorders typically considered to be dental emergencies.

Educational Objectives

The student will gain knowledge in the diagnosis and management of dental emergencies. The objectives of this course are for the student to be able to (1) identify significant diagnostic information regarding pain complaints from the patient’s general data base; (2) prepare a clinically useful problem list for a patient with a complaint of facial pain, establish an appropriate differential diagnosis; (3) identify special studies and tests necessary to diagnose orofacial pain; (4) diagnose common orofacial pain states; (5) prepare logical treatment and management strategies for patients with complaints of orofacial pain; and (6) identify possible adverse treatment effects.

Course Outline

Lecture topics include: pericoronitis; gingivitis/periodontitis; food impaction/foreign body; perio abscess; ANUG; atypical periodontalgia/neuralgia/pain; pulpitis/necrosis; periapical abscess; cracked tooth; sensitive dentin; fracture or cracked restoration; post restorative pain; occlusal trauma;sinusitis; cardiac pain; psychogenic pain.

Course Expectations

To successfully meet the criteria of this course, the student must attend lectures and solve unknown clinical cases. The student will demonstrate his/her understanding of the lecture topics and case analyses through a final examination and weekly case analyses.

Effective Winter Quarter 2007, completion of on-line course evaluation is a requirement of this course. Failure to comply will result in an “Incomplete” grade being assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status.
  • UWSOD Competency 5: Recognize the limits of their expertise and seek consultation with other health care providers to facilitate patient care.
  • UWSOD Competency 6: Manage acute and chronic orofacial and dental pain.
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and periradicular disease.
  • UWSOD Competency 8: Manage dental emergencies.
  • UWSOD Competency 14: Manage periodontal diseases.
  • UWSOD Competency 22: Utilize critical thinking in assessing technical and scientific information for use in identifying patient needs and treatments.


  • Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Planning of Emergent Disorders (Syllabus), ORALM 531
  • Course Website

*last updated: 2/12/2013