Trigeminal neuralgia is a serious neurological disorder that causes extreme pain in the face. The consequences of trigeminal neuralgia include impaired sleep, anxiety and depression. The condition affects as many as 500,000 Americans, and with proper treatment most people can manage their symptoms—but left untreated it can lead to permanent disability and may even be fatal.
Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a condition characterized by severe pain in the distribution of one or more branches of the fifth cranial nerve. This disorder is often described as being felt on one side of the face and may be accompanied by other cranial nerve deficits (for example numbness, hypoesthesia) on that same side.
Trigeminal neuralgia is often a debilitating disorder, with symptoms that are intensely painful. Trigeminal neuralgia is a rare disease that causes sudden, severe pain in the face. People describe it as shooting or electroshock-like pains in their teeth and jaw.
The cause of trigeminal neuralgia is usually related to a blood vessel pressing against the nerve that extends from your brain’s main stem down into the face and jaw.
Pressure can be damaging to the nerve and cause a surge in neurological activity. However, it is unclear why blood vessels press against the trigeminal nerve.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is a disease of the fifth cranial nerve that can dramatically alter your quality of life.
A prospective cohort study of microvascular decompression and gamma knife surgery in patients with trigeminal neuralgia found that both treatments offer relief for those who suffer from sudden, severe facial pain.
Although trigeminal neuralgia is often diagnosed by a dentist, if your own dental practitioner fails to identify the cause of your symptoms and you continue having problems—such as intense pain in one side of the face that spreads to other parts of it when touched or pressure is applied —you should see a general practitioner.
Trigeminal neuralgia affects approximately 2% of the US population. It usually occurs in people over 50 years old, but can happen at any age including infancy. Trigeminal neuralgia most often affects one side (unihemispheric) and not both sides (bilateral).
People sometimes seek a dentist’s help to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia, as the pain of this condition often involves the teeth and jaw.
Treatments for trigeminal neuralgia range from drugs to surgery and can be very effective, given the right combination.
Carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant drug, is currently the only medication approved for use in treating trigeminal neuralgia in the UK.
All of these procedures can be equally effective in treating trigeminal neuralgia, although complications vary depending on the procedure and individual.
However, the term “atypical trigeminal neuralgia” has been used inconsistently for people who do not have TN1—and so it remains a vague and undefined diagnosis. In other cases, surgical injury or stroke can be responsible for trigeminal neuralgia