Oral and maxillofacial pathology (also termed oral pathology, stomatognathic disease, or mouth disease) refers to the diseases of the mouth ("stoma") and jaw ("gnath"). It is the term used by MeSH (along with the synonym dental diseases), but other organizations use different terms. The World Health Organization uses the term "Diseases of oral cavity, salivary glands and jaws." The mouth is an important organ with many different functions. It is also prone to a variety of medical and dental disorders.
The specialty oral and maxillofacial pathology is concerned with diagnosis and study of the causes and effects of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is sometimes considered to be a specialty of dentistry and pathology. Sometimes the term head and neck pathology is used instead, but this might imply that the pathologist deals with otorhinolaryngologic disorders (i.e. ear, nose and throat) in addition to maxillofacial disorders. In this role there is some overlap between the expertise of head and neck pathologists and that of endocrine pathologists.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN, or TGN), also known as prosopalgia, suicide disease, or Fothergill's disease is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. The clinical association between TN and hemifacial spasm is the so-called tic douloureux. It has been described as among the most painful conditions known to mankind. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 or 20,000 people suffer from TN, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. In a majority of cases, TN symptoms begin appearing more frequently over the age of 50, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age. It is more common in females than males.
The trigeminal nerve is a paired cranial nerve that has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve (V1), the maxillary nerve (V2), and the mandibular nerve (V3). One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. 10-12% of cases are bilateral (occurring on both the left and right sides of the face). Trigeminal neuralgia most commonly involves the middle branch (the maxillary nerve or V2) and lower branch (mandibular nerve or V3) of the trigeminal nerve, but the pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, or jaw and side of the face.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS also termed glossodynia, orodynia, oral dysaesthesia, glossopyrosis, stomatodynia, burning tongue, stomatopyrosis, sore tongue, burning tongue syndrome, burning mouth, or sore mouth) is the complaint of a burning sensation in the mouth where no underlying dental or medical cause can be identified and no oral signs are found. Burning mouth syndrome may also comprise subjective xerostomia (a dry mouth sensation where no cause can be found such as hyposalivation), oral paraesthesia (e.g. tingling) and altered taste or smell (dysgeusia and dysosmia). A burning sensation in the mouth can be a symptom of another disease when local or systemic factors are found to be implicated, and this is not considered to be burning mouth syndrome, which is a syndrome of medically unexplained symptoms. The International Association for the Study of Pain definitions of burning mouth syndrome are "a distinctive nosological entity characterized by unremitting oral burning or similar pain in the absence of detectable mucosal changes", and "burning pain in the tongue or other oral mucous membranes", and the International Headache Society definition is "an intra-oral burning sensation for which no medical or dental cause can be found".