Neuralgia is a condition resulting in severe pain caused by a damaged or irritated nerve. While this can occur anywhere in the body, one of the most common types, trigeminal neuralgia, affects the face. This happens when the trigeminal nerve, which stems from the brain and branches off through different areas of the cheeks, nose, lips and teeth, becomes aggravated. The result is often excruciating attacks triggered by common everyday stimulation, like brushing your teeth, washing your face, applying makeup, or even a soft breeze across your face. Neuralgia may not always cause pain. Loss of sensation, caused by loss of nerve function, is also a concern. If you’re experiencing severe, unexplained facial pain, or feel things differently or not at all, contact the team at Rutgers Health University Dental Associates to investigate whether or not you may be suffering from neuralgia and how it can be treated.

What Causes Neuralgia?

Nerves can become irritated as the result of certain diseases, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes, some types of infections, aging and injury. Trigeminal neuralgia can also result from something pressing down on the nerve as it leaves the brain stem. The trigeminal nerve may have a neuralgic response after facial trauma, including oral and facial surgery.

Unfortunately, neuralgia is chronic and tends to worsen with time without treatment. Short bursts of pain eventually become longer and more frequent, which makes early treatment and management critical.

What Are the Treatment Options for Neuralgia?

After being diagnosed with neuralgia, there are several ways to help alleviate the pain. If it’s caused by an underlying condition, the physician or dentist will develop a disease management plan. Other common options include medications, injections and surgery. Microvascular decompression, for example, is a procedure in which a blood vessel that may be pressing on the nerve is relocated to relieve pressure and further damage. As technology continues to advance, more effective neuralgia treatments are continuing to help those who struggle with chronic pain. Rutgers’ Center for Temporomandibular Disorders and Orofacial Pain is staffed by internationally known experts and researchers who care for many patients with rare disorders and syndromes that have been previously misdiagnosed. Providers include the world’s leading authorities on orofacial pain.

Seek Relief Today

Severe facial pain can be debilitating and scary, but Rutgers Health University Dental Associates wants to help you get your life back to normal. Whether you’re experiencing neuralgia or something else, always seek professional help from your local dentist to diagnose and treat any type of oral or facial pain. To schedule an appointment, call the New Brunswick office at 732-235-5050 or the Newark office at 973-972-2444.