Preventing chronic pain after acute jaw sprain or strain
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Chronic pain conditions, including temporomandibular disorders, constitute the primary reason for seeking health care, the most common reason for disability and opioid addiction, and the highest driver of health care costs. For this reason, the Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) and the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee have made efforts to address this problem and made preventing chronic pain among their highest priorities for health care. From a dental perspective, acute jaw joint and muscle sprain and strain (JAMSS), often resulting from dental and orofacial trauma, can lead to chronic orofacial pain, temporomandibular disorders, and headache. All dental health care professionals need to know how to provide prompt and appropriate treatment of jaw JAMSS to prevent this progression. Three cases treated by the first author (J.F.) illustrate the dilemma that acute jaw JAMSS can present to the dental health care professional.
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