Bell’s Oral and Facial Pain

Seventh Edition; 2014 by Jeffrey P. Okeson, DMD
Quintessence Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois

The seventh edition of this book gives evidence of its importance to the profession and its relevance to teachers, researchers, and clinicians. For good reason, Bell’s Oral and Facial Pain has become the most used text on this subject, not only in the United States, but also throughout the world.

Dr. Okeson has kept this classic text updated with the latest discoveries in pain research and divides the book into three sections:

  • Normal neuroanatomy and function of the trigeminal system
  • Classification of the various orofacial pain disorders, while describing history and examination procedures
  • Management consideration for each orofacial pain disorder

Readers grasp the importance of understanding pain, especially chronic pain, upon learning that in the U.S., it consumes $635 billion each year in treatment and lost productivity. To this end, Dr. Okeson supplies plenty of documented information so readers can apprehend what pain is, how it behaves, and how clinicians might manage it. He also develops a useful classification system that augments a systematic insight to its ramifications and offers practical diagnostic advice by which clinicians can identify and successfully treat pain disorders.

The nebulous nature of pain and the inadequate knowledge of physicians and dentists about the subject causes patients to unnecessarily suffer and even endure harmful therapy. Clinicians probably violate the first maxim of the healing arts, “first do no harm,” more often when dealing with pain than with a combination of all other chief complaints together. This misunderstanding often has tragic but avoidable consequences if clinicians simply understood more of the common but unappreciated knowledge about pain.

This important book seeks to remedy that cognitive defect and does it in an altogether marvelous manner.

This book has all of the characteristics of a Quintessence Publication — e.g., thick, durable pages, excellent layout, superlative illustrations and photographs, complete bibliographies, and succinct narrative with readable type.

Aside from the unparalleled anatomical, physiological, and functional descriptions, this book offers readers a veritable bargain through a review of the 35 patient therapies offered. Just reading those will give clinicians pause before galloping into an undiagnosed therapy with all of its unknown consequences. Every dentist should own this book and completely understand its contents.

Before Dr. Welden Bell, the progenitor of this volume, died, he confided why he had chosen Dr. Okeson as his successor. He said,”Jeffrey has the ability to learn.” Indeed he did, and indeed he has.

Review by Dr. Larry White.

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