Many people experience a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. TN can cause pain on one side of the face that feels like being shocked. It’s a chronic condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is responsible for carrying sensations from your face to your brain. If you have TN, even the slightest touch to your face can trigger extreme pain.
Is It A Tooth Ache Or Trigeminal Neuralgia?
TN is often misdiagnosed. Your dentist can confuse TN for a standard toothache in its earliest stages. Pain is triggered when someone chews or talks, but pain can also be triggered by touching the face, brushing against the cheek, or shaving. Symptoms for TN can be confused with a toothache. Those symptoms are:
- Flare-ups of pain come on rapidly, targeting one side of the face. These flares of pain can last a few seconds or minutes. Some of these flare-ups can last hours.
- Patients describe the pain as stabbing, sharp, almost electric shocks that target the side of their face.
- There is no set age for TN to show up in patients. However, the average age of TN patients is about 50. Some patients with TN are older than that, and some are younger.
- Unlike traditional toothaches, TN rarely causes patients to awaken in the middle of the night.
- The flare-ups can target any part of the face. Patients can have pain in their forehead, cheek, or lower jaw.
- Patients with TN are generally unsure when the pain will be triggered. There can be years between flare-ups. Some patients have reported flare-ups that seem to have no end.
Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with medications. Most dentists will prescribe Tegretol or other painkillers. If the symptoms of TN become too severe or begin to affect other nerves in the face, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon. Microvascular Decompression, or MVD, is a surgery to relieve trigeminal neuralgia symptoms.
Your oral surgeon has many other treatment options when helping patients recover from trigeminal neuralgia. Your dentist can burn the nerves to cause the nerves to go numb and interrupt the pain signals. There are compression therapies to compress the nerve, radio-surgery, and Gamma knife surgeries. All of these procedures are alternatives to invasive surgeries. There is a risk that the patient will have another flare-up of TN pain after. Trigeminal neuralgia is caused when a blood vessel presses against the trigeminal nerve. When a blood vessel presses against a nerve, it’s called vascular compression. When the pulse of an artery rubs against a nerve, it wears down the insulation of the nerve. Myelin leaves the nerve exposed, causing pain in the area around the nerve.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment with 3D Dentistry
At 3D Dentistry, our oral surgeons and dentists are trained to treat Trigeminal neuralgia. Our oral surgeons can diagnose and treat this painful condition and ensure any flare-ups are handled efficiently. If you have a toothache that has become chronic pain, call us at (941) 253-2300 or visit us online at https://3ddentistry.co/ to schedule an appointment with Dr. Victor Bustos.