Pain Is a Complex Sensory Experience

Orofacial pain is a widespread problem that accounts for around 40 % of an estimated $80 billion in pain-related healthcare costs annually in the United States [1]. Odontalgia, or toothache, is a common source of orofacial pain and can be a distressing and intensely painful experience, often leading to disruption of daily activities [2-5]. Pain is an important motivator for symptomatic patients to seek dental care, while a fear of pain during or after dental procedures causes some patients to avoid seeking routine dental treatments [6-9]. Pain is a complex sensory experience with emotional, conceptual, and motivational components. As such the experience of pain is unique to each individual [9]. Given the multifaceted nature of pain, it is not surprising that there are numerous and diverse means to prevent or inhibit the pain in a clinical setting, which run the gamut from relaxation strategies to reduce patient anxiety, to blocking sensory nerves with local anesthetics. This chapter will focus on pharmacological approaches to managing pain and infection before, during, and after endodontic treatment.

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