Is It A Tooth Ache Or Trigeminal Neuralgia?


Toothache pain can take a lot of forms. For some, it’s a stabbing pain; others describe it as throbbing pain, while others describe it as almost like an electrical shock. In some cases of toothache, however, the pain isn’t actually from a tooth at all. Instead, the pain originates in the trigeminal nerve that transmits sensation from our face to our brain. This sensation occurs when the protective layer of the nerve is impaired and unable to do its job. The resulting pain is often mistaken for being the result of a toothache. Our team at Laser Dental Bakersfield can help you determine if you need a tooth treated or if the pain is from TN.

Is It A Tooth Ache Or Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Determining whether the source of the pain is from a tooth or from trigeminal neuralgia can be rather tricky. This is due to the similarity between these two types of pain. Further, TN pain often appears when sufferers are talking or chewing. Light pressure on the face can cause sharp, intense pain; even careful shaving may trigger these symptoms. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that this sensitivity is part and parcel of having a tooth that needs care. However, other symptoms indicate what the source of your facial pain is.

These symptoms include:

  • The sudden appearance of pain is restricted to one side of the face that lasts for periods ranging from seconds to hours.
  • Intense, stabbing pain that can be described as sharp or feels similar to being shocked.
  • Pain that doesn’t occur while you’re sleeping and rarely, if ever, wakes you.
  • Pain that appears in other areas of the face than the jaw, including the forehead, cheek, or jaw.
  • Pain that doesn’t seem to occur predictably, appearing multiple times a day or not for weeks or years.

The underlying cause of trigeminal neuralgia is typically a blood vessel pressing on the nerve. With every heartbeat, these blood vessels pulse against your trigeminal nerve. Over time the constant contact leads to the protective myelin layer being worn away. Myelin is the insulating sheath that covers your nerve and prevents it from becoming stimulated incorrectly. Various treatment options are available for addressing the resulting pain, with a painkiller known as Tegretol being the most common non-surgical answer.

In cases where the pain from TN is severe and not responding to non-surgical approaches, oral surgery may be required. The most common surgery for this condition is known as Microvascular Decompression. This treatment helps to relieve the pressure on the nerve caused by the blood vessel.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment With Laser Dental Bakersfield

If you’ve been struggling with dental pain that isn’t responding to normal painkillers and matches the symptoms described above, schedule a visit to Laser Dental Bakersfield. We’ll arrange for you to meet with Dr. Jeannie A Molato and discuss your symptoms. During this visit, you’ll also cover your dental and medical history and discuss any other oral health concerns you may face. You can get started today by calling us at (661) 885-9054 or contacting us online

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Dr. Jeannie Molato, DMD – Top Dentist in Bakersfield, CA

The art and science of dentistry has become my career’s passion. I can utilize my artistic passion and skill to give my patients smiles they have always dreamed of. I am also able to relieve my patients of their pain and discomfort, restore function to better their quality of life and educate the patients how to take care and maintain their oral health.