Nerve pain in the mouth and face can be because of the condition called trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Many people with the disease visit a dentist before going to a physician. This is because the pain you may experience commonly radiates to your jaw, gums, or teeth. So, if your dentist could not find an apparent cause of your pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can determine your condition and provide proper treatment. Keep reading to understand the difference between trigeminal neuralgia and tooth nerve pain, including various treatment options for both conditions.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is one of the most common neurological problems. It is a condition that influences the trigeminal nerve, which transmits pain sensation from your face to your brain. A person with trigeminal neuralgia can experience excruciating pain even from simple activities like putting on makeup or brushing teeth.
This chronic pain condition can initially cause short, mild attacks. However, it can continue and result in longer, more frequent episodes of burning pain. In addition, trigeminal neuralgia commonly affects women and is more likely to happen in individuals over 50 years of age.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Nerve Pain
Trigeminal neuralgia symptoms might incorporate one or more of the following:
- Impulsive attacks of pain or pain triggered by things like touching the face, speaking, chewing, or brushing teeth
- Facial pain that can experience in the cheek, teeth, gums, jaw, lips, or less frequently the eye and forehead
- Episodes of extreme jabbing or shooting pain that appear like an electric shock.
- Bouts of a few attacks that continue for days, weeks, months, or more
- Episodes of pain persisting from a couple of moments to several minutes
- A constant aching, burning sensation that may happen before it advances into the spasm-like pain of trigeminal neuralgia
- Pain that becomes more regular and intense over time
- Pain influencing one side of the face in turn, however, may seldom affect both sides of the face
It is normal to visit a dental clinic, like the Baulkham Hills-based clinic, Sydney Dental Group, for symptoms that seem connected to your mouth. In fact, dentists commonly recognize the condition since many patients with facial pain see a dentist first before an appointment with a general physician.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
The condition occurs when there is a disruption in the function of the trigeminal nerve. Typically, the issue is contact between an ordinary blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve at the foundation of your brain. This contact comes down on the nerve and makes it break down.
In addition, trigeminal neuralgia may appear due to aging. It can also be identified with numerous neurological problems such as ALS, sclerosis, or similar issues that harm the myelin sheath protecting some nerves. Also, this can occur because of a tumor squeezing the trigeminal nerve.
Some individuals might encounter trigeminal neuralgia as a result of a brain injury or other abnormalities. In different situations, facial trauma, stroke, or surgical injuries might be responsible for this kind of neuropathic pain.
Tooth Nerve Pain
Since many people with trigeminal neuralgia confuse the pain with dental pain, it is better to know and understand the possible causes of nerve pain in your mouth.
The nerves in the mouth are situated in the dental pulp, the bundle of nerves at blood vessels at the tooth’s center. Generally, dental nerve pain has two categories:
This condition affects the tooth pulp that usually occurs on one individual tooth. Nerve pain in teeth that influence the pulp can happen because of chipped or broken teeth, dental infection, cavities, a new tooth filling, and tension from grinding your teeth.
This refers to dental nerve pain that is more widespread. Dentinal sensitivity occurs because you have damaged tooth enamel. Exposing the affected tooth to external stimuli such as heat, cold, and acid can create pain in your teeth and mouth. Dental whitening products, untreated cavities, recent gum surgery, or brushing the teeth too hard can also cause nerve pain in teeth.
When you see your dentist, you can learn more about your condition and the treatment you need. If the pain in your mouth is not related to your oral health, they may advise you to see a general physician. However, getting a dental checkup can help identify other medical issues such as trigeminal neuralgia.
Nerve Pain Relief and Treatments
Various ways can help relieve nerve pain in the mouth and face. Usually, taking medications can treat trigeminal neuralgia, such as:
In extreme cases, if taking medications is not helpful, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to remove the underlying problem causing the trigeminal neuralgia.
On the other hand, if your trip to your dentist found out that the pain in your mouth is because of dental nerve damage, you can get one or both treatments. Depending on the reason for your tooth nerve pain, various dental procedures can help solve the issue. Commonly, your dentist’s advice may include the following:
Fillings: Dental filling is the most common dental procedure to treat tooth nerve pain caused by a simple cavity.
Root Canals: A root canal treatment is a popular dental work to save a tooth. This can be a treatment option for tooth nerve pain that occurs because of infections or untreated cavities.
Nerve pain in the mouth and face is a common symptom caused by a condition that affects your trigeminal nerve or oral health issues that influence your tooth pulp. Whether you have trigeminal neuralgia or some dental problems, taking medication can help ease the pain. However, seeing a doctor or dentist can help treat the underlying complication.
Chipped, broken, or cracked tooth.
Slide show: Root canal treatment.