Orofacial pain conditions are often very debilitating to the patient and difficult to treat. While clinical interest is high, the proportion of studies performed in the orofacial region in laboratory animals is relatively low, compared with other body regions. This is partly due to difficulties in testing freely moving animals and therefore lack of reliable testing methods. Here we present a comprehensive review of the currently used rodent models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain adapted to the orofacial areas, taking into account the difficulties and drawbacks of the existing approaches. We examine the available testing methods and procedures used for assessing the behavioral responses in the face in both mice and rats and provide a summary of some pharmacological agents used in these paradigms to date. The use of these agents in animal models is also compared with outcomes observed in the clinic.
Keywords: facial pain, pain models, TMD, trigeminal neuralgia