Lige Dunaway DDS’s Journey to Orofacial Pain and Sleep Medicine

Practicing General Dentistry over the past 37 years has been a blessing. My greatest satisfaction is improving the functional and esthetic components of my patients. Once I started delivering preventative and restorative care, I became aware of the lack of orofacial pain and sleep medicine treatment in Acadiana.

My mentor of all time, the late Dr. Henry Gremillion, Dean of LSU School of Dentistry, asked me to join his Orofacial Pain and Sleep Medicine Course in 2014. This two-year continuum began my path to help improve my patient’s suffering from snoring, orofacial pain symptoms, and CPAP non-compliant issues.

I have a membership in the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP) and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM); both organizations are representatives in orofacial pain and sleep medicine. Currently, dentists, physicians, and Physical Therapists, throughout Louisiana and East Texas refer to my office.

What is Orofacial Pain? 

Following evidence-based research, I’ve come to understand that one of the reasons orofacial pain is not commonly treated is a lack of understanding about what it is. Orofacial pain is the term used to describe pain felt in the jaw, mouth, and face. This can also be referred to as dental pain.

Orofacial pain is the symptom of a problem, and there can be a multitude of causes for this type of pain. Orofacial pain symptoms can affect your daily life in several negative ways, including the following: 

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Morning headaches
  • Pain when chewing
  • Jaw getting stuck

And more! I believe that no one should have to live in chronic pain, which is why I’ve dedicated myself to this practice. 

orofacial pain

Causes for Orofacial Pain

After I learned about the symptoms you can experience from this, I started researching the root causes. Here’s what I learned can be the starting point for this pain:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Bruxism (clenching and grinding your teeth)
  • Missing teeth
  • Injury to the face or jaw
  • TMJ

If you are experiencing any of these issues, you may be at risk or already experiencing orofacial pain. Don’t worry; pain management is available.

The Importance of Sleep Medicine

Did you know that sleep is the most important thing we do for our bodies daily? While we are sleeping, our body supports our brain and physical health. Not getting enough sleep raises your risk for many chronic health conditions, decreasing your quality of life as you age.

For people experiencing difficulty sleeping, this is not something to brush off. Sleep medicine is designed to improve your quality of sleep to elevate your quality of life in all areas.

Importance of Treating Orofacial Pain and Sleep

This type of pain can affect every area of your life, so it is essential to seek treatment if you suffer from it. Seeking advice from an educated professional is the first place to start. As I mentioned, there is a lack of treatment and resources for people experiencing this pain in the Acadiana area, so I am here to help reduce your symptoms.

Get Treated Today

Diagnosing, successfully treating, and managing pain and sleep is rewarding for me. I have over500 hours of continuing education devoted to managing orofacial pain and sleep. My commitment continues to become board certified in both AAOP and AADSM by next summer.

If you’re interested in getting treated for orofacial pain and sleep, then please reach out!