A set of descriptors for the diagnosis of dental pain syndromes

Ellis H. Hall, Geza T. Terezhalmy, George B. Pelleu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Two hundred patients with pain in the head and neck area completed the McGill-Melzack Pain Questionnaire before a diagnosis was made or treatment was recommended for their chief complaints. The class and subclass of the chosen pain descriptors were compiled for each of three broad categories of pain: pain of periodontal origin, pain of pulpal origin, and pain associated with temporomandibular syndrome (TMS). Chi-square analysis showed that TMS pain-word patterns were significantly different from those associated with pain of periodontal or pulpal origin (p ≤ 0.05). Word patterns for pulpal and periodontal pain did not differ significantly (p ≥ 0.05). A larger sample and further study are indicated to determine whether unique word patterns may be developed for individual oral pain syndromes. Ease of administration and the capability of detecting consistent patterns of pain descriptors make the McGill-Melzack Pain Questionnaire a potentially useful tool for the diagnosis and management of pain syndromes in dentistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dentistry(all)


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