Patients with trigeminal neuralgia may experience episodes of jabbing pain, sudden pain attacks, constant aching, pain on one side of the face, and pain affecting one place or a wider area, notes Mayo Clinic. These symptoms can occur when touching the face, brushing the teeth, applying makeup and swallowing, explains WebMD.
The pain tends to begin suddenly or may occur after dental surgery, a blow to the face or a car accident, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. It first begins near the lower or upper jaw, often making the patient think he has a dental abscess. It can cause classic pain, which is usually sharp and severe and occurs when a patient touches the skin at the affected area. It can also cause atypical pain, which is usually a widespread burning sensation that tends to be hard to treat.
Trigeminal neuralgia tends to occur when a blood vessel presses against the nerve near the brain stem, notes WebMD. This causes alterations in the blood vessels, making the trigeminal nerve root and the blood vessels rub against each other. Over time, the constant rubbing leads to nerve irritation. Doctors may prescribe anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants, including carbamazepine, baclofen, phenytoin and oxcarbazepine, states the AANS.