What are the mechanisms behind chronic orofacial pain, and how do we map those mechanisms and sensory malfunctions due to nerve injuries or temporomandibular disorders? This is the overarching research theme for Professor Lene Baad-Hansen, born 1971.
“My research is very much concentrated on how assessment of sensory function through techniques such as quantitative sensory testing or neurophysiological tests may be used in the mapping of pain mechanisms. A better and more common understanding of pain in the trigeminal region will lead to more precise diagnoses and improved treatment,” Lene Baad-Hansen says.
She emphasises that chronic orofacial pain and impaired oral function affect a considerable proportion of the population and has an impact on the patients’ ability to eat, talk and work. Essentially, it affects a person’s quality of life.
In recent years, Lene Baad-Hansen has become increasingly more interested in oral processing of food in different patient populations with impaired oral function, e.g. due to chronic pain. Currently, she is exploring how diet and lifestyle may interact with a person’s genetic background and possibly affect the risk of developing temporomandibular disorders.
Throughout her career path, Lene Baad-Hansen has benefitted from working closely together with food scientists, dental experts and medical doctors specialised in neurology.
“I hope that our findings will enable us to focus more on prevention than on management of chronic orofacial pain and that we can learn more about the impact of orofacial pain on oral food processing and nutrition for the benefit of the patients,” Lene Baad-Hansen states.
Lene Baad-Hansen worked nearly seven years as a dentist in a private dental clinic before she began her research career. In 2016, she was entitled Dr. Odont but according to Lene Baad-Hansen the greatest scientific achievement is to see her PhD students succeed.