Research: TURP and colleagues, D

Listed in Issue 38


TURP and colleagues, Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1078 USA write that knowledge regarding differing treatments for nonmalignant musculoskeletal facial pain is limited.



: The authors conducted a study with 206 consecutive patients referred to a university-based tertiary care clinic for persistent facial pain, to obtain information regarding the number and speciality of providers consulted for these conditions and to follow the underlying treatment-seeking patterns.


On average 4.88 providers from 44 different therapeutic categories were consulted. 70% of patients visited a dentist or a dental specialist. For those patients whose first provider was a dentist, the most likely subsequent provider was another dentist. Conversely, if the first provider had been a physician, the chances were higher that the subsequent provider was a physician rather than a dentist. From the nondental therapies, physical therapy was the most frequently chosen therapy (42.2%). Greater than 60% of patients had at least one nondental treatment, and the majority of these patients had two or more different types of therapies e.g. chiropractic, osteopathy, relaxation training. Patients' satisfaction with their care and treatment was moderate: only 18.5% of the patients were very satisfied; 27.7% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.


The results of this study, which corroborate a recent study from Kansas City Missouri, suggest that patients with persistent facial pain visit a large number of different providers and that nonmedical/nondental treatment approaches are common. The merely moderate satisfaction shown with all the therapies indicates that much needs to be improved before this patient population is satisfactorily served.


Turp JC et al. Treatment-seeking patterns of facial pain patients: many possibilities, limited satisfaction. J Orofac Pain 12(1): 61-6 Winter 1998.

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