Abstract: Aim Pain evaluation in children and its diagnosis are problems not always easy to solve. Children, because of their immaturity, are not always able to well communicate or to describe the clear characteristics of the disease by which they are affected.
Moreover, they are often unable to report the real intensity of the pain they experience. These problems are related to their immature, not fully evolved psyche. Such problems can create difficulties to the physician who is called to examine and evaluate the origin of orofacial pain, as well as hesitation regarding when it could be necessary to start a drug therapy. Aim of this work is to propose the basic tools for the evaluation and measurement of pain that are better suitable for children, as these instruments can be used together with an accurate anamnesis and a meticulous examination, in order to formulate a precise differential diagnosis among the pathologies that affect the head and neck. A list of the most common painful diseases affecting this area is also presented.Methods A systematic literature review about the methods for evaluation and measurement of pain in children was conducted. The commonly used scales of measurement were examined: VAS, VSN, CAS, FPS and the Oucher SCALE. The different pathologies of head and neck and their characteristics are described and the possible causes of orofacial pain have been divided into extracranial and intracranial, in order to easily direct diagnosis.
Results Orofacial pain in children is an issue of great interest in consideration of its high frequency in paediatric dentistry. Its measurement and evaluation is possible despite the small compliance of paediatric patients. Thanks to the modern technique and knowledge this evaluation can be realistic and reproducible.
Conclusion Evaluation scales of pain are suitable at any age and skill of the child and, together with a careful anamnesis and a proper clinical examination, allow the clinician to conduct a precise differential diagnosis of the pain so as to set the ideal therapy for the little patient.