Image of nerves after trigeminal neuralgiaTrigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, the largest of the cranial nerves, which is responsible for sensation in the face, including the jaw and teeth. TN is characterized by sudden, intense, and recurrent facial pain that is often triggered by ordinary activities such as eating, talking, or even the light touch of a breeze.

Trigeminal Neuralgia can and does result from dental procedures gone wrong. This type of TN is called iatrogenic trigeminal neuralgia, and it is caused by injury or damage to the inferior alveolar nerve during a dental procedure. The pain caused by TN can range from mild to severe and may persist for weeks, months, years, or forever after the procedure.

The trigeminal nerve is susceptible to injury during dental procedures for several reasons. One reason is the close proximity of the inferior alveolar nerve to the roots of the lower teeth, making it susceptible to damage from extractions, implants, or other oral surgery procedures. Additionally, improper technique during procedures such as nerve blocks or the injection of local anesthetics can also result in injury to the trigeminal nerve.

What Dental Procedures Can Cause Trigeminal Neuralgia?

Trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by a variety of factors, including nerve damage as a result of a dental procedure, endodontic procedure, or oral surgery procedure. Some dental procedures that have been reported to cause or worsen TN include:

  • Dental Implant Placement: The placement of dental implants can result in damage to the trigeminal nerve, leading to TN.
  • Tooth Extraction: Tooth extraction, particularly wisdom tooth extraction, can sometimes cause damage to the trigeminal nerve and result in TN.
  • Root Canal Treatment: In rare cases, root canal treatment can cause damage to the trigeminal nerve and result in TN.
  • Injection of Local Anesthetics: Injection of local anesthetics, such as during a dental procedure, can sometimes cause damage to the trigeminal nerve and result in TN.

These procedures are generally safe and effective, and the risk of TN as a result of a dental procedure is not very high. However, just as with any type of medical procedure, things can go wrong. If you are experiencing facial pain or other symptoms that you believe may be related to TN, talk to a doctor about it right away. In some cases, early treatment can help to reduce the severity of the pain, and it can prevent further damage to the trigeminal nerve. With dental nerve injuries, time is of the essence, so don’t delay getting help.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms

The symptoms of iatrogenic trigeminal neuralgia (TN caused by a dentist), can include the following.

Sudden & Severe Facial Pain

The pain is usually described as sharp, stabbing, or shooting, and can be triggered by activities such as eating, speaking, or even light touch.

Recurrent Pain Episodes

The pain of TN is often intermittent and can come and go, with periods of no pain followed by sudden pain episodes.

Sensitivity to Touch or Temperature Changes

People with TN may experience sensitivity to light touch, changes in temperature, or exposure to wind.

Loss of Mouth Coordination

The pain of TN can make it difficult to eat or speak properly, and it can cause a person to consistently bite the inside of their mouth or their lips.

Tingling or Numbness in the Face

Some people with TN may experience tingling or numbness in the affected area of the face.

It is important to note that these symptoms may be similar to other conditions, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, anesthesia dolorosa, or dental problems such as cavities or abscesses, so it is important to seek a medical evaluation to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

How Do People With Dental Nerve Damage Describe the Sensations Associated with Trigeminal Neuralgia?

People with dental nerve damage and trigeminal neuralgia often describe the pain as severe, sudden, and shock-like. The pain is often triggered by activities such as eating, talking, smiling, or even touching the face. The attacks or sudden bursts of pain can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. The pain can be repetitive and intense. Some have described it as debilitating and horrific.

People often describe the specific feeling of TN pain as a stabbing or electric shock-like sensation in the cheek, jaw, or lip. Others describe it as a burning or aching pain in the face. Sometimes, this burning is accompanied by a feeling of weight or pushing on the face.

In addition to the pain, some people with TN also experience other physical and mental symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle Spasms: Some people experience muscle spasms or cramping sensations in the face and jaw during attacks of TN.
  • Depression & Anxiety: The chronic pain and disability associated with TN can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as feelings of despair.
  • Fatigue: The chronic pain and stress of TN can cause fatigue and sleep disturbance. The pain often keeps people awake at night and wears them down over time.
  • Difficulty Eating & Speaking: TN can make it difficult for people to eat and speak comfortably.

It is important to note that everyone experiences TN differently, and the severity of the pain and other symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Nerve damage is an enigma, and we still have much to learn about nerve disorders and neuropathic pain.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment Options

Trigeminal neuralgia can be managed effectively with a combination of treatments including medications, procedures, surgery, physical therapy, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle changes. While there is currently no known cure for TN, with proper treatment and management, people with TN can continue to live fulfilling lives and manage their pain.

Medications for Trigeminal Neuralgia

There are several medications that can be used to treat trigeminal neuralgia (TN) resulting from dental nerve damage, also known as iatrogenic trigeminal neuralgia. The most common medications used to treat TN include:


Medications such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), and gabapentin (Neurontin) are often used to control the pain of TN by reducing the number and severity of facial pain episodes.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Medications such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor) are used to treat TN because they can help to reduce pain by blocking pain signals in the nerve fibers.

Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild pain.

Botulinum Toxin (Botox)

This medication can be injected into the muscles of the face to relieve pain by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that are causing the pain.


Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Not all medications will work for every person, and it may take some trial and error to find the best medication for each individual. In some cases, a combination of medications may be used to manage the pain of TN.

Treatments for TN Other Than Medications

In addition to medications, there are several other treatments that can be used to manage the pain of iatrogenic trigeminal neuralgia. Some of these treatments include:

Medical Procedures

Procedures such as radiofrequency ablation or glycerol rhizotomy can be used to destroy the affected nerve fibers and relieve pain.


In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pain of TN. One commonly used surgical procedure is microvascular decompression, which involves moving blood vessels away from the trigeminal nerve to reduce pressure and relieve pain.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion and reduce pain in the face and jaw.

Relaxation techniques

Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can help to reduce stress and manage pain.

Lifestyle changes

Making changes to your lifestyle, such as avoiding triggers, reducing stress, and eating a healthy diet, can also help to manage the pain of TN.

It is important to discuss the different treatment options with your healthcare provider and determine the best approach for your individual needs and goals. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary to manage the pain of TN effectively.

Is There a Cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia Caused By Dental Procedures?

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for trigeminal neuralgia, but it is a condition that can be managed effectively in some cases. The goal of treatment is to reduce the frequency and severity of the pain, allowing people to live fulfilling lives.

As we talked about above, treatment options for TN can include things like medications, surgery, physical therapy, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle changes. In some cases, a combination of treatments works best to manage the pain effectively. The best approach for a given individual will depend on their specific needs and goals.

It is also important to keep in mind that TN can be a progressive condition, meaning that the pain may get worse over time. Regular follow-up with a healthcare provider can help to monitor the progression of the condition and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Does Trigeminal Neuralgia Go Away?

Trigeminal neuralgia can be managed, but it often does not go away completely. The severity and frequency of the pain associated with TN can vary over time, and some people may experience periods of remission where they have no pain. However, in most cases, TN will continue to be a long-term condition that requires ongoing management for the rest of a person’s life.

It is important to keep in mind that while TN may not go away completely, many people with TN are able to effectively manage their pain and live fulfilling lives. With proper treatment and management, people with TN can continue to enjoy activities, socialize with friends and family, and maintain a good quality of life.