On March 31, 2020 the ADA Committee of the National Commission on Specialty Status approved the new dental specialty, Orofacial Pain.
This achievement of specialty status was an end result of over 30 years of effort by the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, its past and present leadership, and countless council and committee members. As a result, Orofacial Pain is now the 12th recognized specialty of the ADA’s National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.
From a broad perspective, the specialty of Orofacial Pain (OFP) “involves the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with orofacial pain disorders, including temporomandibular muscle and joint (TMJ) disorders, oromotor and jaw behavior disorders, neuropathic and neurovascular pain disorders, and related head and neck pain, as well as expanding our knowledge of the underlying cause and mechanisms of these disorders. This specialty also includes screening, management and coordination of care associated with sleep related breathing disorders.”
Currently there are 232 board-certified Orofacial pain specialist in US (15 of them practice in state of Texas and only 3 in the DFW area).
The scope of Orofacial Pain includes diagnosis and treatment of, but not limited to:
- Jaw/TMJ/TMD Disorders
- Orofacial Pain
- Myofascial Pain (muscle pain)
- Sleep Apnea, snoring
- Primary Headache Disorders (Migraines, Tension type headache etc.)
- Burning Mouth Syndrome
- Trigeminal neuralgia or neuropathy, occipital neuralgia etc
It is my hope that this specialty recognition will lead to increased dental school initiatives to educate dental students, a more complete grasp of the complexity of orofacial pain problems among practicing dentists, and most importantly. increased access to care for patients who are suffering including the insurance coverage of these conditions.