A patient complains about a pain like a jolt of lightning that courses through her face whenever she brushes her teeth. Before you reach for your forceps and elevators, consider this. It may not be a dental problem at all.This pain could be a symptom of trigeminal neuralgia, which is a nervous disorder commonly caused by an enlarged artery or a vein pressing on the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain.
Trigeminal neuralgia often exhibits dental symptoms such as severe toothache, soreness in the jaw, sore gums, and so on. "Some patients see their dentists and actually have a root canal performed, which inevitably brings no relief. When the pain persists, patients realize the problem is not dental-related," according to NeuroSurgerytoday.org.
One way to learn more about recognizing the dental symptoms of this condition is by attending UCSD School of Medicine's and the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association's regional conference on trigeminal neuralgia and chronic facial pain on Jan. 26, 2008.
"Trigeminal neuralgia is incredibly frustrating for patients. Everyday environments and activities produce debilitating pain. Patients report that they cannot sit in an air conditioned room or drink cold water. The lightest touch can trigger an attack whether it is a kiss from a spouse or a light breeze," said John Alksne, M.D., neurosurgeon and researcher at UCSD Medical Center in a press release. "I invite anyone with this disease, including family members, doctors and dentists, to come to UCSD on January 26 to learn more."
The conference will be held at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy UCSD. Medical and dental CE credits will be offered and participants can register for them here.