Orofacial Pain Clinic: a popular new offering
by Shawn McMahon, D.D.S., M.S., associate professor
The VCU Oral Diagnostic Sciences Department continued to grow over the past year with the addition of an Orofacial Pain clinical component (integrated with Oral Medicine). Since opening our books in November 2019, the Orofacial Pain Clinic has evaluated and treated a multitude of patients with complicated chronic pain conditions including burning mouth syndrome, post-traumatic peripheral neuropathies, a variety of headaches, neuralgias, sleep disordered breathing (such as obstructive sleep apneas) and, of course, temporomandibular disorders.
Initial feedback shows that patients are happy to have a provider that focuses on these conditions and providers are generally happy to have someone to refer to in these situations – especially when there are multiple comorbid pain and other systemic conditions.
A strong foundation
Despite the road bumps associated with the pandemic we have been busier than ever since reopening. We believe that we have laid a strong foundation and will continue to expand services such as TeleHealth, Dental Sleep Medicine, and other new technologies to provide even better service as we move forward. In addition, as we start the new school year, we have created a new clinical senior selective course that allows those selected to get advanced clinical training in both orofacial pain and oral medicine by working alongside our faculty in the clinic during their senior year.
A new dental specialty
We were proud to have been ahead of the curve with the opening of our clinic when on March 31, 2020, (just as the COVID-19 lockdown was being implemented) Orofacial Pain was recognized as the 12th dental specialty by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards based on compliance with the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties.
Educating medical and dental providers
As the new school year begins, VCU Orofacial Pain will continue to seek new avenues to educate fellow health care providers (medical and dental) through the development of additional didactic course work and lecture presentations, to expand access to care for patients in pain by continuing to seek empanelment in various medical and dental insurance plans, and to maintain the high quality standard of care our patients have come to expect from us.