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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.4 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2010 

Original Articles

Oral infections and orofacial pain in Alzheimer's disease: case report and review

Infecção oral e dor orofacial na doença de Alzheimer: relato de caso e revisão

Silvia Regina Dowgan T. de Siqueira1 

Thaís de Souza Rolim2 

Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira3 

Ricardo Nitrini4 

Renato Anghinah5 

José Tadeu T. de Siqueira6 

1DDS, PhD, Assistant Professor, Gerontology, School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

2DDS, Postgraduate Student, Member of the Orofacial Team, Hospital das Clínicas, Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

3MD, PhD, Chairman of Neurosurgery, Neurology Department, Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

4MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Head of Group of Cognitive and Behavioral Medicine, Neurology Department, Hospital das Clínicas, Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

5MD, Group of Cognitive and Behavioral Medicine, Neurology Department, Hospital das Clínicas, Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

6DDS, PhD, Head of the Orofacial Pain Team, Dentistry Division, Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.


Dental infections, frequent in the general population, are a common cause of inflammation with systemic impact, and are the most common cause of orofacial pain. Temporomandibular disorders are also frequent in the elderly and represent an important cause of secondary headache. Both inflammation and pain can also contribute to cognitive, functional and behavioral impairment of the elderly and aggravate symptoms of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). We report a case of a 74-year-old woman with AD and chronic facial pain who had a significant improvement in functional activities as well as in cognition and depressive symptoms after successful treatment of her facial pain. Patients with AD have higher compromise of oral health with infections and teeth loss. The investigation of orofacial pain should be performed in patients with AD, because of the associations reviewed and given the potential for improvement as highlighted by this case.

Key words: Alzheimer's disease; elderly; dementia; temporomandibular disorder; orofacial pain.


Infecções dentárias, frequentes na população e geral, são uma causa comum de inflamação com impacto sistêmico e a causa mais comum de dor orofacial. Disfunções temporomandibulares também são prevalentes nos idosos, causam cefaléia secundária. Tanto a dor quanto a inflamação podem também contribuir com o comprometimento cognitivo, funcional e comportamental em idosos e agravar sintomas em pacientes com doença de Alzheimer (DA). Este é um relato de um caso de uma mulher com 74 anos de idade com DA e dor orofacial crônica que apresentou uma melhora significante nas atividades funcionais assim como na cognição e sintomas depressivos depois do tratamento da dor facial. Pacientes com DA tem alto comprometimento da saúde oral com infecções e perdas dentárias. A investigação da dor orofacial deveria ser realizada em pacientes com DA devido às associações revisadas e à possibilidade de melhora como destacadas por este relato.

Palavras-chaves: doença de Alzheimer; idoso; demência; disfunção temporomandibular; dor orofacial.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

Full text available only in PDF format.


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Received: February 19, 2009; Accepted: April 20, 2010

Silvia Regina Dowgan T. de Siqueira - Rua Carlos Weber 1319 / apto P164 - 05303-000 São Paulo SP - Brazil. E-mail:

Disclosure: The authors report no conflict of interest.

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