Quality Difference in Craniofacial Pain of Cardiac vs. Dental Origin

By Kreiner M, Okeson JP, Michelis V, Falace D, Isberg A.

Date: 01/2010
Journal: JDR


Objective was to delineate any differences in clinical presentation of pain due to cardiac vs. dental origin-to provide clinician with better clinical criteria for early differential diagnosis.


-115 patients with verified cardiac ischemia and referred pain to craniofacial region included

-359 patients patients with verified dental cause of referred craniofacial pain included

-All patients asked to describe quality of pain, pain intensity scored from 0-10 (worst 10), painful areas marked on full body schematic


  • No statistically significant difference in gender distributions between dental and cardiac craniofacial pain groups
  • 18 (6%) patients reported craniofacial pain as sole symptom of cardiac ischemia-ALL said pressure and burning were symptoms except 1
  • Pain intensity was higher in dental pain than cardiac in craniofacial region

Clinical Significance:

If craniofacial pains are described as “pressure”/”burning “(also pain provoked by activity and goes away with rest) think cardiac. If described as “aching”/”throbbing” think dental origin.