First, I have not been on here in ages. I am so sorry. After my remission, I felt incredibly guilty by reading how in pain everyone was in and here I was, nothing more.
Not to say I have had complete remission. I do have phantom pain from time to time and it's strange, but not full blown. More irritating.
But as a result of TN, what did I do???? I avoided dental care. I just had a comprehensive exam which I sweated and freaked out about during the exam and have had twinges of pain ever since. But the Dentist suggested something that I have NEVER heard about in relation to TN. Not even my neurologist suggested it. I am a teeth clencher. I have fractured the back 4 teeth in my mouth and all need some extensive help. She stated that all of that tension, clenching and gritting over time compressed nerves in my face which led to the TN. Is that even possible?
Further, I have a tooth that is almost all gone (just shards left). The roots have been pushed up into my sinus cavity and there is a small, but growing absess... so I am getting a procedure done. They are going to give me lots and lots of valium before extracting. What do I need to know about this type of procedure considering my TN.
Lisa, First, I'm sorry to hear about the extent that grinding has caused, and that you're feeling phantom pains…let's hope they go away soon. It is understandable why people in our position back away from dental care. Usually it brings more pain!
On the other hand, I've seen a great, gentle, kind, dentist for about 8 years. I met her on year 4 of this pain. She noted the aparent grinding and suggested another night guard, which I bit through in about at year. Still need to get a new one, but it did help to ease the stress caused by the dreamtime grinding. Also, I went to see a physical therapist that treated TMJ with a self massage plan, as well as stretches. These helped so much to ease up the tightness in the jaw and helped to alleviate the "loop" of tenseness-grind- tense- grind, etc. I've long forgot about the exercises until reading your post. But to get back to my dear dentist, she asks that I come in every 6 months and so encourages me that I can hardly say no to her! She believes that preventive care is the best way to go—especially for those of us with TN. She asks the hygienist to use the benzocaine gel on my gums during the cleaning, so it is pretty much numb when the hygenist cleans (it is the gel the doc uses before using a numbing shot). Then, if I need the doc to use it during the exam, she will. She is the best. Also, if you need help to numb the sore area inside your mouth, there are a couple lozenges on the market that have benzo in them. One is Cepicol, and then there is Sucrets, which has a different numbing agent, but works okay. Cepicol is my favorite when the pain is higher.
Perhaps Epsom Salts in a bowl of very warm water to use with compresses to the area may relax and remove the pain you're feeling? It's one of natures coolest creations! Or, just use it in a hot bath and submerge your cheek into the water for a while. As for the grinding, this time I will get the soft/hard night guard so that it won't get eaten so quickly!! It was nice to wear, so comfortable, even for daywear when I was unconsciously grinding, but not practical in the long run. Also, I had a few crowns put on the short teeth in the back and it has helped immensely. It seems to help me to be mindful when the clenching begins and once it's at a conscious level, I will stop doing it.
Avoid the needle…get drugged up! Get some lidocaine mouthwash. : )