The core need with facial pain is to recognise how individual this can be. Patients should have access to a complete range of skills, for diagnosis and treatment.
A dentist, or GP may refer you to a dental specialist, an ENT, neurology, or pain clinic. Whilst they can offer solutions, facial pain treatment deals with a highly complex part of your body and a broader view can help.
Here at the Harley Street Maxillofacial Clinic, we work closely with specialist facial therapy professionals to relieve mild facial pain first; our ethos is to try and minimise the need for surgery.
Analysing the history of facial pain is important. A consultant will want to understand the timing, duration, location and severity, they will discuss relieving and aggravating factors, associated symptoms, in the facial area, or elsewhere.
Medical and family history can play a part, jaw joint disorders for example can be hereditary. Life events, or lifestyle choices may be having an impact.
A physical examination is a natural part of diagnosis. Head, neck and jaw muscle movement can be assessed, internal, or external colour changes, tenderness, palpation, unwanted growths, or swelling in the glands.
There could be situations where lab analysis of tissue, or blood will assist. The latest imaging equipment can add insight, x-ray tomography, MRI, or CT scans.
Considering every piece of evidence relevant to your case matters, they add to your consultant’s insight, which is the ultimate tool. The complexity of the cranio-facial area can be subject to a range of changes.
Adhering to the principle of each case being unique is vital and we do not wish to offer a list of possibilities. Mentioning conditions we often treat in relation to facial pain may still be helpful.
Dental problems are a primary cause, although less so when the pain is medium, or long term. Next in line are temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which are more common than is appreciated and cause distress beyond the jaw joint.
Trigeminal neuralgia, inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, is relatively prevalent, along with variations. A cause of high level facial pain, often described as similar to an electric shock.
Blocked, or poorly functioning salivary glands can cause wider pain. Rarer conditions such as burning mouth syndrome, or vascular causes, such as giant cell arteritis may need to be factored in.
Whilst a variety of benign cysts and lesions could cause pain, similar symptoms can arise from cancerous growths. Where there is evidence to suggest this, prompt investigation and diagnosis matter, although thankfully an unusual outcome.
Care At Our London Clinic
The first step is an appointment with an experienced maxillofacial consultant. They will assess your condition in detail, get to know the affect this has on you and create a personal treatment plan.
There are conditions which will respond to medication. In others, ranging from salivary glands, to tumours, or cysts, or relieving nerve pressure, surgery may be an answer but needs careful consideration.
Our consultants and support staff understand the effect facial pain has on life. They are there to support you, through detailed diagnosis, explanation and individual treatment. You are welcome to get in touch at any time.