Facial Nerve Pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia)
Trigeminal neuralgia is a rare facial disorder that causes sudden but extreme stabbing pains in one area of the face which comes and goes in painful attacks.
The condition affects the trigeminal nerve and affects only about eight in every 100,000 people. While the condition is rare it is very debilitating for those affected, with severe facial and dental pain usually arriving in short, multiple bursts which can be provoked by a light touch of the face.
Facial nerve pain is felt in at least one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve, which includes the lower jaw, upper jaw, cheek, eye, and forehead however the causes of the condition are currently unknown.
What is Neuralgia in Teeth?
It is important to remember that trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects your nervous system, particularly the nerve that carries sensation from your face to your brain. This means that mild stimulation to your face, such as brushing your teeth, can trigger a shock of excruciating nerve pain in the jaw and teeth.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms can include one or more of the following conditions:
- Jerks of severe, shooting pain that can feel like an electric shock.
- Sudden attacks of pain are triggered by daily things such as touching your face, speaking, chewing or brushing your teeth.
- Bursts of pain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes.
- A feeling of constant aching or burning that may occur before it evolves into the sharp pain of trigeminal neuralgia.
- Pain in areas that the trigeminal nerve runs through such as the cheek, gums, jaw, and teeth.
- Severe pain affects one side of the face at a time, rarely occurring on both sides of the face.
- Sharp pain is felt in one particular area of the face or spread in a wider pattern to other areas of the face.
- Attacks of pain become more frequent and intense as time goes on.
What causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia usually occurs when the trigeminal nerve (the nerve that carries sensations of pain from your face to your brain) is compressed. This compression is usually caused by a nearby blood vessel pressing against part of the nerve in the skull/
Trigeminal neuralgia can also occur when the trigeminal nerve is damaged by other medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or a tumour.
Any sort of simple triggers such as touching your face or a slight breeze of wind can cause attacks of sharp facial nerve pain to occur. In some cases, the pain even can occur without a trigger.
Treating Trigeminal Neuralgia
Before diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia it is important for your dentists to rule out any other potential causes for your facial pain.
If they believe you have developed trigeminal neuralgia, your dentist will refer you to a specialist to help you manage and control the condition.
Are you suffering from facial nerve pain? If so, contact Ravenscourt Dental Practice now on 020 8748 4023 or email: [email protected].