Facial pain can be sharp or dull, achy or throbbing, constant or sporadic. There are many different reasons why a person can suffer from facial pain. Here are the most common ones:
Injury or infection
An injury to the face or teeth, or a tooth infection are two of the most common reasons for facial pain, and often can be resolved once identified and treated. When there is an injury or a tooth breaks, or an infection develops, your dentist can easily diagnose and treat it and the facial pain resolves.
There is a nerve that runs from the face to the brain, called the trigeminal nerve. This nerve has three main branches on each side of the head and it connects to three regions of your face: eyes, upper jaw, and lower jaw. When a blood vessel presses against the trigeminal nerve, it can cause piercing pain, known as Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). TN can be caused by multiple sclerosis due to degrading the nerve’s protective sheath, and in rare cases, a tumor may be present and press on the trigeminal nerve. Most common over-the-counter and prescription pain medications don’t work on trigeminal neuralgia but there are other medications that can be helpful. In some cases, surgery may be indicated.
This is a condition that causes frequent uncomfortable “tics”, or muscle spasms, on one side of the face. As this condition worsens, the tics can become more and more frequent and intrusive. The source of the problem is usually a nerve, but the tic is caused by a muscle contraction. This condition can be treated by a series of Botox injections to help stop the spasms, and sometimes, if the muscle spasm is caused by a specific tooth contact, correction of the bite and the way the teeth come together, can resolve this problem.
This is a condition where severe pain is felt in the back of the throat, near the tonsils, back of the tongue, and near the ear. This can be due to irritation of the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is the nerve that helps move the muscles of the throat. This can often be treated with the same medications used in trigeminal neuralgia, but for permanent relief, surgery may be needed.
A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily activity. In most cases, people manage migraines with medication, but most migraines can be permanently treated by correcting the bite, the way your upper and lower teeth come together.
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is the name given to a number of problems related to the jaw, known as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint). In most cases, TMD symptoms are mild and can be managed with pain medication or using a nightguard to sleep with at night. However, some people have chronic (long-lasting) pain or difficulty moving the jaw and need to have it diagnosed and treated appropriately.
To learn more about your particular type of facial pain and how we can help you resolve it, contact our office to schedule a consultation.