Contribution of Endodontic Pathology to Persistent Orofacial Pain: A Case Report

Veronica De Armas, Ozge Erdogan, Howard Yoon, Mario Abdennour, Jennifer L. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying the etiology and correct diagnoses for long-standing orofacial pain can be very challenging, especially in patients who have both odontogenic and nonodontogenic pain. This case report describes the successful management of a complex case of chronic orofacial pain in a patient with nonodontogenic chronic pain conditions and a maxillary molar tooth with persistent periapical pathology after endodontic treatment. The debilitating orofacial pain began after initial nonsurgical root canal treatment of the maxillary molar 3 years before presenting to our clinic. The initial clinical and radiographic assessment by our multidisciplinary team found that there were potentially both peripheral endodontic pathology and central pain mechanisms contributing to the long-standing pain. The diagnosis was shared with the patient's neurologist, who prescribed gabapentin, a centrally acting analgesic, and partial pain reduction was achieved. The odontogenic component of the orofacial pain was then addressed, by treating the persistent periapical infection and buccal bone fenestration of the roots of the maxillary molar. Treatments included both nonsurgical retreatment and surgical endodontic therapy (including root resection, root-end preparation, and retrofilling), and each significantly improved the patient's ongoing orofacial pain. After the successful endodontic treatments, the patient reported minimal pain and normal oral function. The case report highlights the importance of systematically treating endodontic pathology in a patient with long-standing orofacial pain, with both odontogenic and nonodontogenic components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1184
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Surgical endodontic treatment
  • chronic orofacial pain
  • diagnosis
  • recall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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