Algo-dysfunctional syndrome

The pathology of oral and facial structures is varied and can manifest itself differently depending on the structures concerned, the degree of damage and the body’s reactivity.

Pain in dentistry is of several types, varying according to the structures to which it propagates.

Thus, the following types of pain are identified:

  • Pulpal pain – this occurs when the tooth is affected by carious pathology, which spreads rapidly to the deeper structures of the tooth, affecting or approaching the pulp chamber.

The pain in these cases is sharp, excruciating, the patient is often unable to identify the causative tooth and functions such as chewing or swallowing may be difficult.

  • Pain caused by irritation of the oral mucous membranes – mucous membranes act to line the oral cavity and are fine structures that can be easily irritated.

Whether it is mechanical damage, burns from eating hot food and liquids or chemical damage from intraoral acids, the pain caused is disturbing for the patient.

Usually, the mucosa heals fairly quickly once the causative factor is identified and removed.

  • Muscle pain – can be the most troublesome for the patient, given its continuous nature which yields quite hardly to the administration of painkillers.

It is difficult to identify the cause and the affected region is extensive, sometimes affecting half or even the whole face.

Algo-dysfunctional syndrome is a common condition among patients and refers to pain that affects the temporomandibular joint.

It is a syndrome because the pain is complex in nature, the pain may have several causes and accurately detecting the causative factors can be a difficult process for the doctor.


Among the factors that can cause the onset of Algo-dysfunctional syndrome are:

Changes in occlusion – occlusion is the way the upper and lower teeth close the oral cavity at rest or when chewing.

In order to achieve a correct and functional occlusion, it is necessary to have all teeth ideally present on the arch.

Often, the back teeth can be lost due to carious processes in particular, so the occlusion changes.

These changes lead to changes in the temporomandibular joint and parafunctional demands.

Over time, these overstrains lead to joint pain.

Vicious habits – stress or other strained conditions can lead to vicious habits and parafunctions such as bruxism or gnawing on writing instruments.

All of these lead to dental changes that result in changes in the temporomandibular joint.

Overuse of the elevator muscles – if the elevator muscles of the jaw are constantly contracted and cannot relax, spasm occurs, causing severe pain in the hemifacial region.

Most often, the hallmark of Algo-dysfunctional syndrome is pain. This is constant and frequently occurs in the ear, at the projection of the temporomandibular joint.

It may be associated with limitation of mouth opening but also with deviation of jaw movements during chewing or speaking.

Treatment is individualized, each patient responds differently to therapy, which makes this condition complex and sometimes difficult to treat.

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