Trigeminal neuralgia has been identified to be the major reason for admissions among patients with complaints of having facial pain as well as numbness. According to Jones (2015), the disease is common among adults who are 50 years and above and presents with a sudden attack of excruciating pain on the face that lasts for less than a minute. Women are more affected than their male counterparts. The pain is felt on one side of the face mostly. Sometimes, patients do complain of severe pain on both sides of the face at different times. Some of the common actions known to initiate pain on the face include talking, chewing, eating and even applying little pressure on the side that has been affected. The cause of trigeminal neuralgia remains unknown, but physicians have associated it with excessive pressure on the trigeminal nerve.
To avoid unnecessary treatments, patients prefer booking an appointment with a dentist than their general practitioner (Maarbjerg et al. (2014). A cracked tooth or infections in the dental cavity are known to cause extreme facial pain and it would be necessary for the attending dentist to take history in addition to perform a physical examination. A dental X-ray can be ordered so that it may be easier to visualize any damage that has been done on the nerve endings. Some facilities are equipped with equipment that can perform a nerve conduction velocity tests that give the extent to which a nerve has been damaged. Besides, the doctor may be required to check the blood sugar levels and kidney functioning. A magnetic resonance imaging test can help to rule out multiple sclerosis as the cause for the pain.
An accurate diagnosis will result in eliminating the exact cause of the pain. Patient should be advised to seek medical care early enough before the neuralgia complicates. Meanwhile, it should be noted that facial pain and, or numbness may be brought about by a variety of factors that patients need to be made aware so that they avoid falling into depression.
Jones, N. S. (2015). Facial pain. Logan Turner’s Diseases of the Nose, Throat and Ear: Head and Neck Surgery, 77.
Maarbjerg, S., Gozalov, A., Olesen, J., & Bendtsen, L. (2014). Trigeminal neuralgia–a prospective systematic study of clinical characteristics in 158 patients. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 54(10), 1574-1582.