What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as tic douloureux, is a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the largest nerves in the face. It is characterized by sudden, severe, and often recurring facial pain that can last for a few seconds to several minutes. The pain is usually triggered by a light touch, such as when eating, speaking, or washing the face. Trigeminal neuralgia can be extremely debilitating and can significantly impact a person's quality of life. The exact cause of trigeminal neuralgia is often unknown, but it is thought to be related to irritation or damage to the trigeminal nerve. The issue is often thought to come from pressure on the trigeminal nerve located at the base of the head and may be the result of arterial pressure or a symptom of a cyst or tumor, an injury, multiple sclerosis or a similar condition.

Trigeminal neuralgia is more common in people over the age of 50 and is more often seen in women than in men.

What Kinds of Procedures Help Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia?

There are several treatment options available for trigeminal neuralgia, and the most appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the pain and the individual patient's circumstances. Some common treatment options include:

  • Medications: Anticonvulsants and antispasmodics are often the first line of treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. These medications can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of the pain.
  • Microvascular decompression surgery: This surgery involves the removal of blood vessels that are pressing on the trigeminal nerve, which can help to reduce the pain.
  • Percutaneous procedures: These procedures involve the insertion of a needle through the cheek to deliver targeted therapy to the trigeminal nerve. One example is radiofrequency thermocoagulation, which uses heat to destroy the nerve fibers that transmit pain.
  • Gamma knife radiosurgery: This is a non-invasive procedure that uses focused radiation to destroy the nerve fibers that transmit pain.
  • Neuromodulation: This involves the use of electrical stimulation or chemical agents to alter the activity of the trigeminal nerve. One example is trigeminal nerve stimulation, which involves the placement of a small device under the skin that sends electrical impulses to the trigeminal nerve.

It is important to work with a doctor or an oral surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for trigeminal neuralgia.

Are You Ready to Schedule an Appointment?

If you are suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oscar Muñiz, an experienced oral surgeon who has been a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery since 2006. Located in The Woodlands, Texas, our practice is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our patients. We have a team of skilled professionals who are ready to help you find relief from your Trigeminal Neuralgia and improve your quality of life. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us to schedule an appointment by calling (281) 419-3223 and start your journey towards healing. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your oral health goals.