FAQ’s on Facial Pain
Pain in the face has a variety of potential causes, and can be a very excruciating experience for patients. In many cases, acute facial pain will have a singular cause that is readily treatable providing patients immediate relief and the ability to return to their daily lives quickly.
Common causes of pain in the face include:
- Infection (sinus infection is most common)
- Injury or trauma to the face
- Trigeminal Neuralgia: Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the largest in the head (Trigeminal neuralgia, 2014)
- Dental-related complications, such as abscessed tooth
- Inflammation in the face (primarily sinusitis)
What are the symptoms of Facial Pain?
Symptoms of facial pain will occur in the area of the face where the complication is. Pain can be a dull throbbing or ache, or may be a lancing pain through the face. If the cause is dental, facial pain may be accompanied by difficulty in moving the jaw.
How is Facial Pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis is primarily achieved through X-ray of the face to search for structural damage, with an MRI or CT scan uses to inspect tissue. Patients with dental complications may receive dental X-rays.
What are the treatment options for Facial Pain?
After identifying the origin of pain for the patient, our physician will develop a treatment plan to provide symptomatic relief. The available options will be based on what this root source of pain is, with common options including:
Medication: Both pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs will be used to provide relief to patients. If over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication is not having the desired therapeutic effect, our physician may prescribe a stronger medication to assist in removing inflammation. Patients with pain due to infection may have antibiotics prescribed to them
Corrective Surgery: Patients who are suffering chronic facial pain due to injury or trauma to the face may possibly obtain relief by correcting the cause of pain. In cases where one or more bones have become fractured, surgically repairing the bone can provide symptomatic relief. Patients who are experiencing chronic pain due to a deformity in a facial bone (which will cause painful episodes of inflammation) may receive surgery to correct the bone, removing it as a source of pain to provide long-lasting relief.
Dental Surgery: Pain that is directly related to a disorder of one or more teeth can be treated by surgically correcting the dental complication. Removing an abscessed tooth or tooth that has become damaged can directly remove the source of pain patients had. Patients who had jaw pain may be able to obtain relief with dental surgery, provided the jaw pain was due to inflammation from the affected tooth.
Therapeutic Injection: Some patients may receive a therapeutic injection or nerve block, with a goal of providing symptomatic relief. Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are particularly effective with patients who have facial pain with headaches as a secondary symptom (A novel revision to the classical transnasal topical sphenopalatine ganglion block for the treatment of headache and facial pain, 2013).
Occlusal Stabilization: The use of occlusal stabilization devices for patients with myofascial pain was shown to be effective in providing relief for pain related to masticatory muscle ailments (Occlusal stabilization splint therapy in orofacial pain, 2013).
Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia: By far one of the most common causes of facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia has a number of treatments available to assist patients in obtaining pain relief (A review of percutaneous treatments for trigeminal neuralgia, 2014). By treating the afflicted nerve with medication, patients can obtain lasting relief. Patients who do not respond well to medication may have one or more neurosurgical procedures, with a focus on relieving pressure to the nerve, performed as treatment.