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Facial Pain

Facial Pain

Facial pain, also called trigeminal neuralgia, is a pain condition felt in any part of the face. It affects some certain nerves in the face. It is characterized by a feeling of electric shock on the face with a varying level of intensity. Some causes of facial pain are harmful and may require a thorough examination by a doctor, while most causes are harmless, and may due to an infection, a  facial injury or a headache, surgery,  diseases like multiple sclerosis,  toothache, ulcer etc.

There are certain nerves in the face, which when affected can cause facial pain. These nerves are called “the trigeminal nerves”. They are responsible for the feeling of sensation in the face and they travel the length from the cranial nerves (nerves in the head) to each side of the face. Thesetrigeminal nerve split into three branches each;

  • The ophthalmic branch which controls the eye, upper eyelid and forehead.
  • The maxillary branch which controls the upper gum, upper lip, lower eyelid, the cheeks, and the nostril.
  • The mandibular branch which controls the jaw, lower lip, lower gum, and the muscles used for chewing.

Any injury or disorder that affects any of these branches, cause pain in that specific area. The pain can be felt from the forehead to the jaw. It usually occurs on one side of the face but it can also be felt on both sides which are known as bilateral trigeminal neuralgia.

Symptoms

Stabbing or shooting pain when brushing the teeth, washing the face, shaving or even a slight breeze can trigger this pain. This pain is felt periodically and there is some pain-free period. The specific areas affected are mostly teeth, gums, lips, jaw, and cheeks.

The feeling of not knowing when the pain will return causes anxiety to the people suffering from the condition.

It is common in people older than 50. Women are more likely to have facial pain than men. It can be hereditary and is linked to high blood pressure.

Diagnosis

Though it may not be life-threatening, if these sensations keep recurring, seek a doctor.