Article: Volume 43 Number 2 Page 138 - March 2016

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  Dent Update 2016; 43: 138-149

Oral surgery:  Pain Part 7: Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Abstract: Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is also known as ‘tic douloureux’ (in French, ‘painful twitch’). It is a rare chronic facial pain syndrome, characterized by severe, brief, stabbing, ‘electric shock-like’ recurrent pain attacks felt in one or more divisions of trigeminal nerve innervation areas. So intense is the elicited pain that TN has a significant effect on a sufferer’s quality of life, rendering many patients unable to consider a future with the ongoing threat of recurrent pain. The aim of this article is to discuss the diagnosis and management of this disabling facial pain condition.

Clinical relevance: As general medical practitioners may struggle differentiating TN from toothache, primary care dentists have an important role in excluding odontogenic cause of pain, diagnosing TN and referring patients to a facial pain clinic for further investigations and multidisciplinary team management.

Author notes: Sabine Jurge, DDS, MBBS, MSc(OM), MFDS RCSEng, Academic Clinical Fellow and Honorary Teacher in Oral Medicine, Eastman Dental Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, 256 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8LD, UK.

Objective: To provide assistance in the diagnosis and referral of trigeminal neuralgia for multidisciplinary team management.

Belmont