Quality difference in craniofacial pain of cardiac vs. dental origin

M. Kreiner, D. Falace, V. Michelis, J. P. Okeson, A. Isberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Craniofacial pain, whether odontogenic or caused by cardiac ischemia, is commonly referred to the same locations, posing a diagnostic challenge. We hypothesized that the validity of pain characteristics would be high in assessment of differential diagnosis. Pain quality, intensity, and gender characteristics were assessed for referred craniofacial pain from dental (n = 359) vs. cardiac (n = 115) origin. The pain descriptors ĝ€ pressure" and ĝ€burning" were statistically associated with pain from cardiac origin, while ĝ€throbbing" and ĝ€aching" indicated an odontogenic cause. No gender differences were found. These data should now be added to those craniofacial pain characteristics already known to point to acute cardiac disease rather than dental pathology, i.e., pain provocation/aggravation by physical activity, pain relief at rest, and bilateralism. To initiate prompt and appropriate treatment, dental and medical clinicians as well as the public should be alert to those clinical characteristics of craniofacial pain of cardiac origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-969
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, and the Medical Faculty, Umeå University, Sweden.


  • acute myocardial infarction
  • and referred pain
  • cardiac ischemia
  • craniofacial pain
  • dental pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (all)


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