Atypical Odontalgia: Causes, Treatment, How Long Does It Last, Why is it Named “Atypical” Odontalgia?

What is Atypical Odontalgia?

Atypical odontalgia is characterized by chronic pain in the tooth or tooth socket, after extraction, without any identifiable cause on clinical or radiological examination.

Atypical Odontalgia: Causes, Treatment

Why is it Named “Atypical” Odontalgia?

It is known as “atypical. because there is a different type of pain when compared with a typical toothache where the pain comes and goes. A normal toothache gets aggravated with exposure to hot or cold food or drinks. Also chewing and biting bring in pain on the affected tooth in a typical toothache.

In atypical odontalgia, the pain is a constant throbbing or aching type. The toothache in atypical odontalgia is persistent and unremitting and is not affected by exposure to cold or hot food and drinks like a typical toothache. The intensity of pain in atypical odontalgia can be mild to very severe.

The pain in atypical odontalgia remains even after performing the treatment procedure, such as filling, root canal or even extraction, which frustrates the patient and as well as the dentist.

What Causes Atypical Odontalgia?

The cause of atypical odontalgia is not known, but it is often associated with a history of a dental procedure, such as root canal or tooth extraction.

Some clinicians refer to it as idiopathic. Other factors which can lead to atypical odontalgia are:

Hereditary. Genetic predisposition.

Age. Atypical odontalgia is see more in middle-aged than older age group.

Sex. Atypical odontalgia is found more commonly in women than men.

Other Conditions. Depression and anxiety are also found associated with atypical odontalgia.

The persisting pain of atypical odontalgia can be due to the molecular and biochemical changes in the pain signals processed by the brain.

What is the Treatment of Atypical Odontalgia?

Though not seen occurring in many, still atypical odontalgia is not a rare problem. A proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be done by a dentist with advanced training and familiarity with Atypical Odontalgia. A specialist in oral medicine or oro-facial pain can be the best person to go for the treatment of Atypical Odontalgia.

Most of the dental treatments prove ineffective in curing the pain in Atypical Odontalgia, but can temporarily lessen the severity of the pain. The pain tends to recur, as the occurrence doesn’t have any pathological cause. This makes it important to recognize Atypical Odontalgia before going ahead with any treatment.

Atypical odontalgia is a chronic pain and is treated by using different medications including. tricyclic antidepressants being used most frequently for treating Atypical Odontalgia. Other medications include chronic pain medicines, such as gabapentin, baclofen, and duloxetine to treat Atypical Odontalgia. The treatment is successful in reducing the pain, but is unable to cure Atypical Odontalgia completely.

How Long Does Atypical Odontalgia Last?

As the exact cause of atypical odontalgia is not known, it is difficult to predict for how long the condition stays. In some individual the pain of Atypical Odontalgia goes away spontaneously; whereas, in some it disappears after prolonged treatment. While in few, Atypical Odontalgia requires continuous medications to subside the pain.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 8, 2022

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