Frequency of Localization of the Painful Tooth by Patients Presenting for an Endodontic Emergency

Patrick J. McCarthy, Scott B McClanahan, James S Hodges, Walter R Bowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: Endodontic pain patients sometimes have difficulty in accurately identifying the painful tooth. We determined the frequency in which patients presenting with endodontic pain can correctly localize the painful tooth and the effect of periradicular symptoms. Methods: The frequency of localization of the painful tooth in 79 endodontic emergency patients was assessed by using patient and dentist assessment of presenting pain along with the verbal numeric rating scale (VNRS). Results: The results show that patients presenting with odontogenic pain can localize the painful tooth 73.3% of the time. Patients experiencing periradicular pain can localize the painful tooth (89%) significantly more often than patients with pain without periradicular symptoms (30%, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: The presence of periradicular pain increases the accuracy of pain localization. The VNRS is highly correlated with other pain scales and is an acceptable inital pain-assessment tool for endodontic emergency patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-805
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endodontics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Emergency
  • endodontics
  • localization
  • pain
  • verbal numeric rating scale
  • visual analog scale

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency of Localization of the Painful Tooth by Patients Presenting for an Endodontic Emergency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this