Nalini Vadivelu, Amarender Vadivelu and Alan David Kaye (eds.)Orofacial Pain2014A Clinician’s Guide10.1007/978-3-319-01875-1_2
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014 2014
2. Oral Health-Related Quality of Life and Facial Pain
Annoor Dental College and Hospital, Muvattupuzha, Kerala, 686673, India
Quality of life is defined as a broad multidimensional concept that encompasses subjective evaluations of both positive and negative aspects of life. This includes a broad range of life events including health, financial status, marital status, and incidents of bereavement. One aspect that can significantly affect the quality of life is facial pain, which can result in anxiety, fear, stress, panic, and depression. Oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) becomes an important issue in the treatment for patients that suffer from various clinical conditions that cause pain. Some facial disorders and cases that may result in facial pain include jaw fractures, temporomandibular disorders (TMD), facial paralysis following stroke, migraines, cleft lips and palates, ankyloglossia, ageusia, and radiotherapy and surgery as treatment for oral and nasal cancer. Quality of life is an integral component of an individual’s well-being. It is therefore a crucial and pressing issue that requires further training of health care practitioners in order to increase sensitivity and awareness of transcultural health issues. Qualitative research must be conducted in various pain settings in order to collect data on OHRQoL to establish goals to correct oral health disparities and improve the treatment of facial pain. A deeper understanding in identifying populations at risk will also aid in the formulation of public health policies and the allocation of financial outlays in the budget for oral health initiatives.
Orofacial pain, as a specific sensory modality, has four tangible components: perceptual, emotional, visceral, and referral component. Pain can lead to tissue damage. Prevention of tissue damage becomes an overriding concern in the management of orofacial pain. Other states related to facial pain include anxiety, fear, stress, panic, and depression. These states affect the expression of pain  and hence the quality of life. Quality of life has been defined as a broad multidimensional concept that includes subjective evaluations of both positive and negative aspects of life. Health, financial status, divorce, bereavement, and other life events impact the quality of life. Disease and infirmity can take their toll by affecting normal physiological functions and hindering daily activities of living. The ability to perform day to day activities liking walking, driving and perception of the sense of smell, touch and taste are crucial to optimal quality of life.
The aforementioned activities and perceptions are altered by disease and need prompt attention. A disorder in question is anosmia: How anosmia leads to loss of olfactory control, which in turn can hinder the ability to sense the multitude of flavors present in food, which is of paramount importance in enjoying a good meal? Maxillofacial injuries apart from causing pain can damage nerves leading to paresis of the tongue with resultant loss of function. It is no exaggeration to state that pain can cause a functional deficit and derange the quality of life.
Health-related quality of life at its best would be a cherished end point for a health care practitioner and has been advocated as a supplemental measure for incorporation in public health policy in addition to traditional measures like statistics related to mortality and morbidity.