I haven’t seen Sharon for a while, so I thought I’d try and answer your question. ATN is Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia. The trigeminal nerve is also known as the fifth cranial nerve. It’s considered to be the most complex cranial nerve as it not only senses pain but also controls movement and branches out to both the upper and lower jaw. Pressure or damage or irritation anywhere along the the nerve can cause pain anywhere along that nerve. This can make the whole diagnosis very difficult ie an issue with the jaw can send pain sensation to your teeth. Your teeth could be fine, but the pain seems dental.
Medically speaking there are 2 types of ATN, Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 (TN1) is characterized by attacks of intense, stabbing pain affecting the mouth, cheek, nose, and/or other areas on one side of the face. TN type 2 (TN2) is characterized by less intense pain, but a constant dull aching or burning pain. Some people can have the characteristics of both 1 and 2 at the same time, again making a diagnosis difficult. The name itself really gives it away ‘ATYPICAL’ or not typical at all, there is no set symptoms. Often ATN is one of those conditions that is diagnosed by elimination. ie If it’s not ‘X’ and it’s not ‘Y’, then it must be ATN.
ATN has been one of my diagnosis’. I’ve required a few neurosurgeries and in the process I have acquired some chronic bad pain. In trying to obtain answers as to why my pain has been ongoing, ATN was given as a diagnosis. Due to my neurosurgeries, 6 so far, the idea that the trigeminal nerve has NOT been damaged at some point (If not multiple times) is impossible in my opinion and although none of my surgeries have included my lower jaw, the jaw pain is WOW intense.
Initially, I was told, ‘the pain, It’s dental’, so I had all of my top teeth removed, the pain continued. Safe to say it wasn’t my top teeth. I think I’ve come to a point where basically I have to live with it. I was told with each operation that it would be fixed, but that has not been the outcome. So please carefully consider ALL of the pro’s vs con’s before going down the surgical route. Could surgery fix it? Well, yes it could BUT could surgery make things worse? Well, yes it could.
Merl from the Modsupport Team