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Papers of the Week

2021 Mar-Apr

Gen Dent



Munchausen syndrome: report of a case and implications for dentists.


Khawaja SN, Sultan AS
Gen Dent. 2021 Mar-Apr; 69(2):56-59.
PMID: 33661116.


Munchausen syndrome (MunS), or factitious disorder imposed on self, is an exceedingly rare and immensely difficult syndrome to identify and manage and is considered a diagnosis of exclusion. Few reports exist in the dental literature to date, so the objective of this article is to describe a case of MunS in a 60-year-old woman who sought treatment for bilateral jaw pain and uncontrolled jaw movements. The patient's symptoms started 19 months previously, following placement of a 6-unit metal-ceramic bridge. Her pain started as a mild, intermittent ache that lasted for 30 minutes. However, gradually her symptoms became severe and constant. In addition, she started to experience episodes of uncontrolled jaw contractions that were associated with bilateral episodes of stabbing and shooting pain. Results from her comprehensive clinical assessment and investigations suggested that the patient had masticatory myalgia pain disorder and oromandibular dystonia. She experienced significant relief of symptoms with pharmacologic intervention. However, after an intermittent period of relief, she returned to the clinic with an inconsistent history, irregular clinical examination, and history of erratic behavior. The patient was referred to a psychiatrist, who eventually rendered a diagnosis of MunS. This article will also address considerations for the dental team, including how to identify cases of MunS, relevant courses of action, including appropriate referral, and the consequences of overdiagnosis of MunS.