From previously discussing the different types of headaches, we now shift our focus to Trigeminal Neuralgia. What causes this condition? What are the ways in which we can manage it? Are dentists capable of managing this type of headache? Here are some answers to these queries.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Explained
Trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve. This nerve, which detects touch sensation to the face, is one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. Whenever you feel something press against your cheek, for example, it’s the trigeminal nerve in action. Sometimes, nerve injuries or nerve lesions may occur, and those involving the trigeminal nerve will result to Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom is an extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain that lasts a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode. It usually affects part or all of one side of the face, with the pain usually felt in the lower part. Very occasionally can it affect both sides of the face though. It’s possible for the pain to improve or even disappear altogether for several months or years at a time, although these periods tend to get shorter with time.
What Causes Trigeminal Neuralgia?
The compression of the trigeminal nerve is usually caused by a nearby blood vessel pressing on part of the nerve inside the skull. In rare cases, trigeminal nerve damage can be due to an underlying condition, such as multiple sclerosis or a tumor. Typically the attacks of pain are brought on by activities that involve lightly touching the face. Sometimes the pain can occur without any trigger at all. There has also been some studies showing that ill-fitting dentures can cause trigeminal neuralgia too.
A Team Who Can Help
The condition is definitely manageable with the help of the right team and the right medication. An well-known anticonvulsant is the first treatment usually recommended to treat trigeminal neuralgia. However, to arrive at the right diagnosis is first and foremost. So, we do suggest seeking consult from your dentist too. Who knows? Maybe it’s just your dentures causing the problem, right? If symptoms persist though, we suggest that you see a neurologist thereafter.