Dr. Thuan Dao

Dr. Thuan Dao

"Differential diagnosis of orofacial pain"

Personal Information

Associate Prof. Emerita Thuan Dao, BA, DMD, MSc, Dip Prostho, PhD, FRCD(C)

Dr. Thuan Dao obtained her DMD, MSc (Neuroscience), and PhD (Biomedical Sciences) at the University of Montreal, and her Diploma in Prosthodontics at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and Associate Professor Emerita at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto.

Dr. Dao had served a President of the Neuroscience Group of the International Association of Dental Research, as a Councilor in Prosthodontics for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and as a member of the Centre for the Study of Pain at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Dao’s research and publications have focused mainly on the etiology and management of orofacial pain and sensory disorders. She has lectured extensively on pain-related topics, nationally and internationally, to both researchers and clinicians. With her strong background in Neuroscience, her expertise in clinical trials, and many years of private practice limited to pain management, Dr. Dao is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between basic sciences and the clinics. Her ability to clearly explain complex science to clinicians and to relate it to everyday practice has met with wide acclaim.


“Differential diagnosis of orofacial pain”


Patients experiencing persistent orofacial pain are often misdiagnosed as having tooth
pain, resulting in needless treatment while pain persists. This reality highlights the
importance of the differential diagnosis of chronic orofacial pain in the dental clinic

With the understanding of the physiology and mechanisms of chronic orofacial pain has
vastly improved, the availability of diagnostic tools such as laboratory, radiological and
other imaging tests remains limited. As a result, the differential diagnosis of orofacial
pain is primarily based on a comprehensive description of the pain and its impact on daily
function, followed by pain, medical and dental histories.

This lecture will illustrate with clinical scenarios how information obtained from patients
through structured interview will lead the path to diagnosis, while the physical
examination mainly confirms or refutes the provisional diagnosis.