What is the Trigeminal Nerve?

By: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons – AAOMS

Located in the head and neck, the trigeminal nerve is one of a group of 12 cranial nerves – all with important roles in vision, hearing, and controlling the function of facial muscles. The trigeminal nerve provides feeling to most of the face and mouth, controls the motion of the lower jaw as well as biting and chewing. Problems with the nerve can lead to even the slightest movement causing excruciating pain. Due to its size and placement, it is possible for the trigeminal nerve to be damaged during trauma, from the growth of tumors, or from infections. It also can be injured during surgical procedures such as fracture repairs, orthognathic surgeryoncological surgerycosmetic surgery, or wisdom teeth extractions.

Patients can work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to manage their trigeminal nerve damage through both surgical and non-surgical means.

Trigeminal Nerve Pain

Symptoms of trigeminal nerve pain can vary, and triggers of those symptoms may be inconsistent or vary from person to person. Potential signs of trigeminal nerve pain include:

  • Seemingly spontaneous attacks of shooting or stabbing facial pain.
  • Facial pain triggered by speaking, chewing, brushing teeth, or simply touching the face.
  • Constant aching or burning feeling that can evolve into spasm-like pain.
  • Pain in the cheek, jaw, gums, teeth, and lips (occasionally an eye or the forehead).
  • Attacks that increase in frequency and intensity over time.

While some patients may experience near-constant pain, others can experience long stretches of pain-free time. Trigeminal nerve pain typically affects one side of the face at a time.

Trigeminal Nerve Diagnosis & Treatments

Due to the broad trigeminal nerve functions, trigeminal nerve pain can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. Significant pain can be caused by everyday behaviors such as chewing or by a light breeze crossing the face. An OMS can often diagnose trigeminal nerve pain based on a patient’s description of the pain, particularly the type and location of pain, as well as what triggers the pain.

From there, an OMS may conduct a neurological examination or have an MRI ordered to determine if there is a specific underlying cause of trigeminal neuralgia or sharp pain that follows the length of the nerve. Trigeminal nerve treatment often begins with medications, including:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antispasmodic agents
  • Neurotoxin injections (e.g., Botox)

While medication allows some patients to manage their trigeminal nerve pain, others may require surgical treatments, including:

  • Microvascular decompression: Relocating or removing blood vessels in contact with the trigeminal nerve can reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Gamma Knife: A focused dose of radiation can damage the trigeminal nerve and reduce or eliminate nerve pain.
  • Rhizotomy: Destruction of nerve fibers through thermal lesioning, balloon compression, or glycerol injection.

Learn More from an OMS

Trigeminal nerve pain can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life, and any symptoms should prompt a visit to a doctor and a consult with an OMS.

Source: https://myoms.org/what-we-do/extractions-and-other-oral-surgeries/trigeminal-nerve-pain/

Full-mouth Restoration with Dental Implants

By: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons – AAOMS

While a single dental implant may replace a broken or lost tooth, it also can serve as an anchor for multiple replacement teeth. Full-mouth dental implants are what they sound like: a long-lasting replacement for most or all of a patient’s teeth.

Full Dental Implants vs. Dentures

With dentures, not only is there a risk of bone loss in the jaws, but the patient is opened up to potentially embarrassing situations at every meal. Advantages of dental implants include:

  • Full-mouth dental implants are anchored to the jawbone with titanium and the bone actually fuses to the implant through a process called osseointegration, reducing the risk of bone loss.
  • Dentures will wear out over time and need to be replaced.
  • Dental implants restore function on par with a patient’s original teeth. Eating with dentures can mean worrying about what’s on the menu.

A single dental implant is easy to imagine – it replaces the root of a tooth with a titanium implant with a crown on top. Full-mouth dental implants work differently. When replacing a mouth full of teeth, two or more titanium implants provide an anchor for the secure mounting of replacement teeth, preventing slipping and bone loss.

Cost of Full-mouth Dental Implants

No two patients have the same mouth, and the cost of full-mouth dental implants will vary from patient to patient. When planning for the procedure, it’s important to consult both with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) and any dental or medical insurance providers. Also, keep in mind:

  • The cost of full-mouth dental implants is not the cost of 32 individual dental implants. Each titanium implant can provide support for multiple replacement teeth.
  • Full-mouth dental implants may be partially covered under select medical or dental insurance policies.
  • When properly cared for, dental implants represent a potentially lifelong replacement for missing teeth (edentulism), making them a wise investment for the future.
  • Many OMSs are able to put patients in contact with affordable financing options specifically designed for oral healthcare.

Find an OMS for Dental Implants

Choosing a fixed bridge to replace a single tooth can lead to damage in adjacent teeth, potentially requiring the replacement of multiple teeth in the long run. A single dental implant can provide a true replacement for a missing tooth and prevent the need for future dental work. Similarly, full-mouth implants take the guesswork out of the future of a patient’s oral health. Whether a patient needs one tooth replaced or all of them, it’s essential to consult us and develop a plan as soon as possible.

Source: http:// https://myoms.org/what-we-do/dental-implant-surgery/full-mouth-dental-implants/