What you need to know about
Trigeminal neuralgia is a severe facial discomfort that occurs suddenly. It’s typically described as a sudden shooting pain in the jaw, teeth, or gums, or as an electric shock.
It normally occurs in brief, unpredictable attacks that last anywhere between a few seconds and two minutes. The attacks end as quickly as they began.
Trigeminal neuralgia usually affects only one side of the face, with pain originating in the lower region of the face. Pain can strike both sides of the face on rare occasions, but not always at the same moment.
People who have the illness may have pain attacks on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Attacks might occur hundreds of times per day in severe situations.
Pain can improve or even go away for months or years at a time (remission), though these times tend to get shorter over time.
Some people may experience a constant aching, throbbing, or burning sensation, which may or may not be accompanied by sharp assaults.
It’s difficult to live with trigeminal neuralgia. It can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, leading to issues like weight loss, solitude, and despair.
Mapping the Nerves in Your Face
It helps to understand how the afflicted nerves are laid out when learning about trigeminal neuralgia.
There are 12 pairs of what are known as cranial nerves in your head. These nerves include the trigeminal nerves, which allow you to feel sensations on your face. Each side of your head has one nerve.
Each trigeminal nerve has three branches that control different aspects of your facial sensation. They’re as follows:
- The ophthalmic branch. It is in charge of the eye, top eyelid, and forehead.
- The maxillary branch. The lower eyelid, cheek, nostril, upper lip, and upper gum are all affected.
- The mandibular branch. It controls your jaw, lower lip, lower gum, and some chewing muscles.