What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia Briarcliff Manor, NY

Thousands of nerves and various neurological pathways run through our brain, and abnormalities or damage to those nerves can lead to chronic diseases. Trigeminal neuralgia is a painful disease that affects the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the face and upper jaw. Since its obvious spasms can be caused by touching the face, some patients mistake the symptoms for a dental issue when they first detect them while brushing their teeth. On the other hand, this disease is classified as a neurological problem rather than an oral health problem. Although there is no cure, there are ways to manage discomfort.

Trigeminal nerve pain

Trigeminal nerve neuralgia causes sporadic to regular bouts of shooting facial pain that feels like a burn or an electrical shock. An episode can last anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes, and a person might be affected for an hour or more at a time.

Daily living might be tough for someone who suffers from facial neuralgia. Eating and speaking can be challenging as the disease progresses, and even routine facial touch such as shaving, flossing, or applying cosmetics can cause a wave of discomfort. Constant anxiety over the next episode can turn to depression and other mental health issues, which are just as challenging to deal with as the neuralgia itself.

Trigeminal neuralgia: the causes

An artery or tumor pushes on the trigeminal nerve, causing the illness. As a result of this contact, the nerve is compressed, and its protective covering is damaged. This can happen due to nerve damage caused by sinus surgery, mouth surgery, head trauma, a stroke, or a complication of multiple sclerosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, this type of neuralgia affects people regardless of their age. However, it is most prevalent in adults 50 and over, and women are more likely to be affected.

The teeth and trigeminal neuralgia

This disease may manifest as pain in the lips, nose, eyes, or forehead, in addition to imitating the teeth or gum discomfort of a dental issue. Those who have tooth sensitivity or discomfort and suspect it is trigeminal neuralgia need to consult their dentist because these symptoms might indicate something else if there are no other symptoms of the illness.

Treatment and diagnosis

To diagnose trigeminal neuralgia, a comprehensive medical examination and history are necessary. After discussing the problem with the dentist and doctor, they will send you to a neurologist, who may conduct a head MRI or other imaging to confirm the condition and begin developing a treatment plan.

While there is no universal cure or therapy that will work for everyone, a TMJ specialist may prescribe pain management techniques. A doctor's first line of defense against the disease is generally nonsurgical therapy.

The pain associated with neuralgia is neuropathic (originating directly from the nerve). Thus it does not react to over-the-counter pain medications or opioids. Anticonvulsants like carbamazepine (which is used to treat seizures) can help to decrease discomfort and attacks. To help reduce face "shocks," a neurologist may prescribe a muscle relaxant or other medicine.

Living with neuralgia

If you have noticed signs of trigeminal neuralgia, talk to a TMJ specialist about the best ways to deal with the pain. You can also speak to a counselor about the mental health issues that come with the illness. The specialist can assist you in your recovery, regardless of your age or stage in life, so you will not have to worry about discomfort when flashing your smile.

Request an appointment here: https://westchester.stevensyropdds.com or call Steven B. Syrop, DDS at (914) 594-9123 for an appointment in our Briarcliff Manor office.

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