You must have heard about this disorder named trigeminal neuralgia, which is also called a tic douloureux. This is one kind of unusual nerve disorder affecting the nerve of a person and is considered to be a most excruciating pain which is described as a shooting, electric shock, etc.
This pain involves the lower face and jaw, which can also affect the nose and above the eye area. This is caused by the trigeminal nerve irritation that begins at the ear and spreads out to the cheeks, forehead, and lower jaw.
It will usually affect only one side of your face and can be triggered by the actions like chewing, drinking, talking, touching the face, or brushing your teeth.
Trigeminal neuralgia cannot be cured but some treatments can alleviate that severe pain. This includes the use of anticonvulsive medications which is the first treatment choice here.
If this doesn’t work, then surgery can be the next option but this is used in rare cases where medications do not work. Dominic Thorncroft is one of the best dentists who can advise you about such problems. You can refer to his website for more details on it.
Someone who is going through this trigeminal neuralgia can face one or two of these symptoms:
- There is a sudden attack of shooting pain in the face that can last for seconds to 2 minutes.
- Pain could be on one side of the face
- There is an excruciating pain on the upper or the lower jaw that can move to the teeth, or cheek and very uncommonly spread to the forehead and the eyes.
- A feeling of burning or aching can be felt after the severe pain is subsided.
- There is a regular episode of this kind of pain that is there for weeks, months, or even years.
Trigeminal neuralgia is treated with the help of prescribed medications and surgery.
Anticonvulsants are prescribed as they can reduce or block the pain signals sent to the brain by calming the nerve impulses. Here any other OTC pain-relieving medications are not effective.
One medication that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Epitol). Other than this there are other medications prescribed by doctors too for off-label use such as valproic acid, gabapentin, topiramate, etc.
Common side effects of these anticonvulsants include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and suicidal thoughts.
Surgery is an option where medications do not work anymore or it is causing dangerous side effects in people which cannot be tolerated. There are different types of surgeries done like open surgery, lesioning procedures, neuromodulation, etc. This will depend on the condition of the patient.
How to Prepare for the Appointment?
All you need to do is:
- Write down the symptoms like how the pain feels and the location where it pains
- Note down the triggers causing the pain
- Make a list of all medications given earlier or the current medications. Write down about the surgery done if any.
- Make a list of questions in your mind
- Understand the whole process of diagnosis and treatment. Keep realistic expectations that will not disappoint you further.