Conditions Affecting the Mandibular Nerve
Two health issues that might impact this facial nerve are trigeminal neuralgia and temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Trigeminal Neuralgia: This chronic pain condition affects areas connected to the branches of the trigeminal nerve. Brought on by aging, trauma or damage, a tumor, or a stroke, trigeminal neuralgia can also result from a condition that puts pressure on the protective sheath surrounding the trigeminal nerve (such as multiple sclerosis).
Whatever its cause, trigeminal neuralgia can produce severe shooting pain triggered by these everyday activities, among others, involving your face:
- Washing and shaving
- Talking and smiling
- Eating and drinking
- Brushing your teeth
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD): If you have pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jawbone to the skull, that’s TMD. Affecting your jaw muscles and/or the mandibular nerve, TMDs can result from grinding or clenching your teeth, arthritis, jaw or head trauma, or other factors.
Symptoms of a TMD include these, among others:
- Pain or soreness in facial areas, including headaches, earaches, and jaw aches
- Jaw locking, popping, or clicking
- Teeth sensitivity
If you experience trigeminal neuralgia or TMD pain, contact your medical or dental professional to get a correct diagnosis – and perhaps discover an underlying health issue. Depending on the condition and various factors, treatments range from behavioral therapy to medications to injections to surgeries.