The Periodontium as a Potential Cause of Orofacial Pain:
A Comprehensive Review

Jaume Miranda-Rius1, 3, *, Lluís Brunet-Llobet2, 3, Eduard Lahor-Soler1, 3
1 Department of Odontostomatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2 Division of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
3 Hospital Dentistry & Periodontal Medicine Research Group, Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD), Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain

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Creative Commons License
© 2018 Miranda-Rius et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to the author at the Department of Odontostomatology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona, Feixa Llarga, s/n, 08907 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; Tel: +34 934 024 269; E-mail:



Orofacial pain of periodontal origin has a wide range of causes, and its high prevalence and negative effect on patients' quality of life make intervention mandatory. This review provides a periodontological overview of the field of orofacial pain, focusing on the entities which involve the periodontal tissues and may be the cause of this pain or discomfort.


The study comprised a literature search of these pathologies conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed Database. Acute infectious entities such as gingival and periodontal abscesses are emergencies that require a rapid response. Periodontitis associated with endodontic processes, necrotizing periodontal disorders, desquamative gingivitis, gingival recession, and mucogingival herpetic lesions, cause mild to severe pain due to tissue destruction and loss. Other lesions that lead to periodontal discomfort include gingival enlargement and periodontal ligament strains associated with occlusal trauma, parafunctional habit and the impaction of food or foreign bodies.


A range of therapeutic, pharmacological and surgical alternatives are available for the management of these injuries. However, the wide variety of causes of orofacial pain or periodontal discomfort may confuse the clinician during diagnosis and may lead to the wrong choice of treatment.

Keywords: Orofacial pain, Gingival pain, Periodontal discomfort, Mucogingival herpetic lesions, Periodontal injury, Periodontal ligament strains.