Be Wary of Facial Pain, It Could Be Trigeminal Neuralgia

facial-pain1People who often experience bouts of pain in the nose, lips, jaws, eyes, or forehead should be very wary. All these symptoms could be signs of the very serious medical condition known as Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN).

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a very common condition, were the patient suffers from excruciating pain. This condition has been often called the “suicide disease”, as many people cannot handle the intense pain and would rather end their life and instead of dealing with it.

This condition usually occurs when an arm of vein or artery makes contact with a nerve at the bottom of the brain. The contact caused by the vein or artery will cause pressure to be placed on the nerve and this in turn results in a breakdown or something going wrong in the brain.

The episodes of pain associated with the condition can be extremely severe. It can be triggered by different activities such as brushing the teeth, chewing and even wind blowing on the face. Generally only one side of the face is affected by pain at a given time. The pain can be focused in one area or spread into a much wider area.

There are many different treatments for this particular condition. These include the use of different types of medications, drugs and injections. If any of pulse fail to work, then surgery is often considered.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Is One Of The Worst Pains

trigeminal-neuralgia1For people who have this antagonizing pain that affect side of the face and can’t explain where it comes from, might be suffering from a medical condition called could mean longer routes. This pain might come about from shaving, chewing, washing the face, brushing the teeth and it might be excruciating or feel like an electric shock.

This pain is considered to be one of the worst pains a person can have. Some think it’s a dental problem it can be triggered by anything.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is divided into three branches: the mandibular nerve which controls sensation in the lower jaw bones which assist in chewing; the maxillary nerve which controls sensation in the upper jaws, where most of the teeth are in higher vertebrates; and the ophthalmic nerve which provides sensation to the eyes, particularly the cornea.

Trigeminal neuralgia, however, is a disorder marked by a “wearing out” of the nerves and usually occurring in the lower maxillary and mandibular branches.

 The pain associated with condition can vary in severity. Some patients will have mild pain, while some people may have it for a month.

People often complain that the pain they feel is associated with a dental problem. Dentists should be able to recognize that this pain is associated with trigeminal neuralgia if their patients complain that every time they brush their teeth or wash their face they have an electric shock pain.

The trigeminal nerve is responsible for chewing, producing saliva and tears, and for sending facial sensations to the brain. In trigeminal neuralgia, when the nerves “short circuit” usually on one side of the face, the pain is often unbearable.

 The condition however is not life-threatening. If untreated however, it can get a lot worse. The nerve can be damaged over time and the person will have a constant dull ache.

There are various treatments that are available to help treat the condition. There are drug treatments that can help to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve. The anti-epilepsy medicine Tegretol is also used.  There is the possibility of having surgery done on the nerve to remove whatever is compressing it.

Another treatment used is radial frequency ablation, a procedure through which doctors induce radio-frequency waves, gamma rays, or glycerol injections to deaden the nerve — and the pain.

Acupuncture is another treatment that can be considered and some people have stated success with what they have done.

Radiosurgery Helps With Trigeminal Neuralgia

radiosurgeryFor people who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, radiosurgery is a non-invasive radiation technique that is a safe and effective treatment. Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that consists of episodes of intense stabbing pain in the face and neck.

X-rays are taken and they locate the place where highly focused beams of radiation should be placed. Radiosurgery seems to improve trigeminal neuralgia by selectively destroying nerves that carry pain signals.

Radiosurgery has typically been limited to treat people who have shown no improvement of trigeminal neuralgia after conventional surgery has failed. In recent years however, radiosurgery has started to be offered as the main therapy for the condition.

In the current study, radiosurgery was performed on 22 patients with trigeminal neuralgia. All of the patients in the study had all failed to respond to drug therapy.

After a follow up after 21 months, pain relief was rated as excellent for 15 patients, good for 6, and poor for 1, yielding a total success rate of 95.4 percent. Generally the reduction in pain occurred 3 months after the procedure. Five patients experienced pain recurrence, but in generally in all cases, the pain was less than before.

The results showed that the use of the available radiosurgery technique is a good first option for people who suffer from this condition. It should be noted that radiosurgery is not suitable for patients will suffer from severe acute pain episodes.

Trigeminal Neuralgia in Dentistry

dentistDentists should be aware of patients who complain about a toothache or pain of their sinuses, with no real dental cause, might be suffering from the medical condition called trigeminal neuralgia.

The symptoms associated with this condition is usually a sharp, stabbing pain that can be aggravated by brushing teeth, cold liquids, chewing gum/food or talking.

Misdiagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia can often result in unnecessary dental procedures such as multiple extractions, endodontic procedures, and TMJ surgery. All of these are done and they have no effect of the discomfort that patient feels.

The medical condition trigeminal neuralgia is caused when the blood vessel at the trigemenal nerve root entry-exit zone is compressed. The pain the person who suffers from this condition is one of the most painful. The symptoms associated with the condition are very mild in the early stages, however it will increase in intensity over time. The person will experience electric shock like pain as it progresses.

Trigeminal neuralgia can be triggered by the slightest of stimulations. This can result in a painful attack for the patient. It should be noted that around 25% of people who have the condition will respond to treatments of anticonvulsant drugs. For the others, surgery is required.

Trigeminal Neuralgia has distinct symptoms that separate it from other forms of facial pain.

  •          The pain is acute, short bursts as opposed to a dull, constant ache.
  •          The pain is often described as electric shock-like in nature.
  •          The pain can be triggered by light touch or sensitivity to vibrations such as eating, shaving, brushing teeth or talking
  •          The pain will come and go. Sometimes it will be intense; while other times the person will be pain free.

The medical history of the patient and the description of the some are major ways of identifying trigeminal neuralgia. Many doctors will often recommend that the patient gets a MRI or CAT scan to rule out other possible cause of pain. There is no specific test to diagnose Trigeminal Neuralgia.