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13.18.4Persistent idiopathic facial pain [G50.1] G44.847  
Previously used terms Atypical facial pain


Persistent facial pain that does not have the characteristics of the cranial neuralgias described above and is not attributed to another disorder.

Diagnostic criteria:

  1. Pain in the face, present daily and persisting for all or most of the day, fulfilling criteria B and C
  2. Pain is confined at onset to a limited area on one side of the face1, and is deep and poorly localised
  3. Pain is not associated with sensory loss or other physical signs
  4. Investigations including x-ray of face and jaws do not demonstrate any relevant abnormality


  1. Pain at onset is commonly in the nasolabial fold or side of the chin, and may spread to the upper or lower jaw or a wider area of the face and neck.


Pain may be initiated by surgery or injury to the face, teeth or gums but persists without any demonstrable local cause.

Facial pain around the ear or temple may precede the detection of an ipsilateral lung carcinoma causing referred pain by invasion of the vagus nerve.

The term atypical odontalgia has been applied to a continuous pain in the teeth or in a tooth socket after extraction in the absence of any identifiable dental cause.