Dental Shelby Twp
Hi, this is Dr. Robert Antolak from thegentledentist.com. 586-247-3500 is our phone number. We are The Gentle Dentist but we also help provide a number of different procedures in our office which help enhance people’s lives in the oral cavity, in the mouth, smiling, and just overall health. That’s what we focus on.
I have a couple of patients who have a condition that’s been diagnosed as Trigeminal Neuralgia or Tic Douloureux. Trigeminal Neuralgia is a neurological issue that comes up and about 12 out of 100,000 people are diagnosed every year- new cases. It’s more common in women and symptoms can be following the nerve path, so the Trigeminal Neuralgia is named by the nerve, the trigeminal nerve.
The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve, a nerve that actually starts off from the brain. That nerve trigeminal means three – tri meaning three. So there are three branches. There is one that comes near your eye – ophthalmic- right here. Then there’s a maxillary branch and a mandibular branch. So there are three parts here. If we look, it’s definitely contained within the inner part of the skull.
The one thing that we really noticed, that happens a lot with some patients, is that they do develop some pain along this pathway of where the nerve is. They can develop it in any one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve, but probably the most common area is in the lower jaw.
The trigeminal nerve, as you can see, the mandibular branch comes out here and gives sensation to the lip and the teeth. This neurological pain (a neuralgia) can be pretty extreme. It can go from a burning sensation to a sharp pain. It can be extremely intense and very uncomfortable and come on for no apparent reason.
It truly has to be diagnosed by a neurologist to really get an accurate diagnosis of the condition. Now, there a number of different treatments available. This is where you would have to talk with a physician.
Some treatments are moderately effective. There are some surgeries that can take place. Sometimes there’s a blood vessel that can actually put pressure on that trigeminal nerve that creates pressure and that pressure on the nerve can create pain in that area. So there are some surgical techniques that the neurologist or surgical physician would go in and relieve some of the pressure.
There are things like using a balloon around it to decompress it and to take some of that pressure off of it to hopefully help that patient .
The key is that sometimes people think that it’s a dental issue. I just saw a patient actually today who was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia but she wasn’t really diagnosed positively until after she had a number of her molar teeth extracted. Then the pain continued to take place.
We have to be savvy when we look at our patients to diagnose them to make sure that it’s actually not coming from a tooth but coming from a deeper level.
If you look at this picture here (see video) this yellow area is a nerve. You can see the branch of this nerve that gives sensation to the teeth and it can mimic a toothache a lot of times.
If there’s really nothing wrong with your tooth, but it’s mimicking a toothache that obviously has to raise a red flag to the dentist that’s treating you so that they know the difference between a neurological issue, like Trigeminal Neuralgia or if it’s actually of dental origin. We only have one opportunity to make the right diagnosis so it’s important. Also history is very important when doing a diagnosis.
Truly, the people who are in control of diagnosing Trigeminal Neuralgia is the neurologist or physician. Sometimes we can provide treatment from a dental standpoint by making a bite guard for patients if they find they are stretching out the teeth or grinding the teeth. This can reduce some of the pressure off of that nerve.
Unfortunately Trigeminal Neuralgia is something that’s affecting dental patients and the pain can be so intense that it really cripples them.
Contact Shelby Twp Dentist, Dr Antolak for More Information on Trigeminal Neuralgia
If you have any questions about trigeminal neuralgia, feel free to call us or make an appointment. We can take a look at your symptoms and if necessary make the proper referral to a neurologist.
So if you would like more information, we’d love to have you come in. You can reach our Shelby Twp dental office at: 586-247-3500. Thank you and have a blessed day.