Pain projective zones at different teeth diseases


Disease localization Projection zone Maximal painful sense point
Maxilla: · incisives, canines · first premolars · second premolars, first molars, · second and third molars   fronto-nasal naso-labial maxillar and temporal   mandibular   superciliary arch   temporal region   near external ear auricule
Mandible: · incisives, canines, first premolar · second premolar · first and second molars · third molar   omental (chin)   it is not established sublingual larynx, parietal head region   mandible inferior limb at mouth angle level   mandible angle


Dental pain conductive tracts and central mechanisms

Irritation from nociceptors of facial skin, oral cavity, tongue mucosa, periodontal and pulpal receptors is directed through nervous fibers (maxillar and mandibular nerves) to sensory neurons in trigeminal nerve ganglion. Their central processes go to medulla oblongata where they finish ipsylaterally on trigeminal nerve spinal tract nucleus neurons. The nociceptive afferentes largest part is ended into its caudal and intrapolar part; nociceptive fibers small part – on spinal tract nucleus collateral structures. Afferentes some part reaches reticular formation giantocellular, paragiantocellular and lateral nuclei and suture nuclei. Mainly innociceptive information from mechanoreceptors comes into trigeminal nerve anterior and main sensor nuclei. Collaterals large amount provides functional connection between trigeminal nerve different nuclei (nuclei trigeminal complex) that is essential for interrelations of nociceptive and innociceptive excitations. The biggest part of these tracts fibers are ended into thalamic posterior ventromedial nucleus neurons. These projections are organized according to somatotopic principle. One part of the cells of this nucleus is a specific nociceptive that are responsible for only 1 type of nociceptive stimulation, others – neurons of a wide dynamic row answering on mechano-, thermo- and chemonociceptive stimulation.

Trigeminal complex nuclei neurons give the beginning to some ascendant tracts. Thygemino-thalamic projections form 4 tracts. 2 of them – contralateral trygeminal lemnisc (“trygeminal lemnisc”) and ipsylateral trygeminal tract – transmit excitement caused by innociceptive stimulation of tactile receptors of facial-mandibular region different structures. Ventral central and dorsal trygeminothalamic tracts are formed from axons of neurons of I, III-IV layers of caudal and intrapolar parts of trigeminal nerve spinal tract nucleus caudal and interpolar parts.

Essential role in propozalgias forming plays trygemino-reticulo-thalamic way transducting excitations from dental pulp and nociceptors of facial-mandibular region other structures – through reticular formation nuclei to non-specific thalamic nuclei (parafascicular, central lateral nuclei, median center, interlaminar group). This nuclear group contains mainly polymodal neurons that are responsible for various sensor stimulation. Besides, there are several neurons in it reacting only nociceptive actions. Reticular formation, specific and non-specific thalamic nuclei switching on in course of nociceptive information transmission from facial-mandibular region organs determines its coming in cortical sensor zones, to its orbito-frontal region as well as wide generalization of nociceptive excitations in lymbico-hypothalamic region structures.

In cortical sensor zones there are topical organization of representation of maxillary-facial region structures particularly of different teeth. Cortical cells responsible for dental pulp irritation are divided into 2 groups:

Neurons of the first group – F (from “fast” – quick) are responsible for the first and second teeth pulp stimulation with a short latent period. Information to them comes through thrigemino-thalamic tracts ending on posterior ventro-medial nucleus neurons forming direct projections in “oral” sensor cortical zone.

Neurons of the second group – S (from “slow”) answers to the fourth-eighth teeth stimulation with large latent period. These neurons are activated through trigemino-reticulo-thalamic ways ending in non-specific thalamic nuclei that give wide thalamo-cortical projections.

They consider that sensor zone I forms sensor-discriminative system that defines dental pain quantity, space organization, intensivity as well as regulates motor acts appearance at nociceptive action, forms the sensation of primary epicrytic pain.

Sensor zone II takes the information not only from thalamus specific nuclei but from its non-specific nuclei too. This zone is responsible for pain perception as sensor modality excitation, potentially harmful stimuli assessment and adequate protective reactions forming, switching antinociceptive mechanisms on.

Cortical orbital-frontal region participates in a formation of complicated emotionally-affective pain expressions and psychiatric emotional reactions connected with it, especially expressed at facial-mandibular region structures injury. Nociceptive excitations generalization through intraplatelet thalamic nuclei provides limbic structures involving in the process of coming nociceptive information processing and formation of vegetative “portrait”, nociceptive reaction motivational and emotional components as well as subjective emotional and adaptive reactions prolongation. The result of excitation coming into central brain parts is a nociceptive sensations forming with more or less expressed behavioral, emotionally-affective and vegetative reactions directed onto saving facial-maxillar tissues integrity.

Convergence of nociceptive signals from different teeth pulpal afferents and surrounding tissues on cortical neurons is a characteristics of dental pain especially the intensive one. It provides wide excitation irradiation impeding pain localization. Sometimes dental pains can be projected not only into the region of pathologic processes development (for example, to injected tooth or parodont locus) but also to far located regions of face, head and neck (reflected pains). On the basis of projectional zones appearance lies tight interrelation of nociceptive and innociceptive neurons of different trigeminal complex nuclei as the result of rich connections between them as well as with reticular formation nuclei. Essential role is also played by thin-organized facial skin representation in brain hemispheres occupying significant region of sensor zone. It creates the possibility to nociceptive and innociceptive excitations convergence on cortical neurons providing skin sensitivity of definite face, head and neck zones with pain projection namely to these regions.

Sometimes after teeth removal (extraction) operation phanthome pains can be developed. They are pain sensation in removed tooth or at the region of its fixation. Phantome pains are considered to be deafferentative. Tooth retraction leads to excitability increasing with the parallel deficiency of inhibitory processes in cells of different CNS levels, providing the sensitivity for this tooth. Previous as for the preparation more or less durable nociceptive afferentation from injured tooth region provides definite base for nervous structures to excitations durable circulation. Additional afferentation at tooth extraction “switches on” circulation while creating the generator of pathologically increased excitations percepted by cortical neurons as durable, orten constant, pain. Involving in process the circulation of pathologically enforced excitations of several brain structures leads to the pathological algic system forming. At phanthome pain treaty measures of a local character don’t lead to pain disappearing of reducing because their origin lies inside brain structures on which one should act increasing inhibitory mechanisms work. 


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