What You Need To Know If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Trigeminal Neuralgia & Need Dental Work

If you've been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, there's no doubt your teeth could use some dental work. The excruciating pain in your jaw and cheek can make it difficult for you to take care of your teeth. You may even have had some teeth unnecessarily extracted during your quest to find what caused the pain before your diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your smile even while suffering from trigeminal neuralgia. Here's some information that may help.

Trigeminal neuralgia

The pain of trigeminal neuralgia, which is often called Tic Douloureux, can be triggered by any sensory stimulus to the facial skin or the oral mucosa around your teeth and tongue. A light breeze on the face, a kiss on the cheek from your child, the movement of your tongue when speaking or eating, or brushing your teeth can cause piercingly sharp, shooting pain in your jaw.

Many people who have this condition are unable to perform regular dental hygiene without experiencing the pain. Sometimes, people with trigeminal neuralgia stop brushing and flossing their teeth out of fear of the pain, and rightly so, given that the condition is referred to as the suicide disease. In fact, it is considered the most excruciatingly painful condition known in the medical field. Therefore, the fears you have regarding dental hygiene at home and in a dental office are justified.

Trigeminal neuralgia treatment options

Fortunately, there are a few treatment and surgery options that can be performed by a neurosurgeon. It's important to discuss these options with your neurosurgeon. It's also important to understand that some patients may only experience relief for a short period of time after treatment or surgery.

For example, Dr. Ben Carson performed microvascular decompression (brain surgery) on a teenager only to have her pain return after eight months. With this possibility in mind, it's a good idea to schedule all dental work as soon as possible after surgery to alleviate pain from trigeminal neuralgia, if that is the option you choose.

Most people, however, choose medication to control the pain until they are no longer able to manage the pain through medication alone. If this is the option you are currently considering, ask your neurosurgeon to speak with your dentist prior to undergoing any dental examinations or treatment. They can collaborate and find a regimen that will help reduce your risks of experiencing a painful episode of trigeminal neuralgia while sitting in the dental chair.

Dental treatment options

One thing that neurosurgeons and dentists recommend for their trigeminal neuralgia patients is sedation dentistry, especially for long treatment processes such as for cosmetic dentistry. However, as with all medication, sedation dentistry should be taken into careful consideration regarding the pain management medication you take for your trigeminal neuralgia and any other medical conditions you may have.

With sedation dentistry, you should be a good candidate for most types of cosmetic dentistry procedures. The only one that you should refrain from getting is dental implant surgery. The reason for this is the location of the trigeminal nerve in the jaw and the close proximity of dental implants to it. Obviously, you don't want to bother the nerve that causes the intense pain you experience.

Depending on the condition of your teeth and how long it's been since you've been neglecting hygiene due to the painful condition you have, your options may include crowns, bridges, bonding, and/or veneers. Discuss your cosmetic dentistry options with your dentist and allow enough time for him or her to speak with your neurosurgeon regarding how to safely proceed with dental treatments before moving forward. 

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