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Extreme facial pain is extremely distressing to patients. It can also take a long time to diagnose, since there are a number of structures that can be responsible for the origin of this pain and the pain itself is referred to other parts of the head and neck.

Here, we take a look of some of the more common causes of facial pain.

1. Trigeminal Neuraligia

This condition causes pain along the branches of the trigeminal nerve. Patients commonly complain of pain on exposure to certain trigger factors. This could be an exposure to cold, moisture, shaving, wind or anything else.

The pain is episodic in nature; it is sharp and lacerating almost stabbing. These episodes are difficult to predict and can occur one or multiple times a day.

The exact reason for this condition is not known. It is seen most commonly in middle aged women. The condition can subside on its own or persist for life. Pain management and decreasing the frequency of attacks is possible with the use of prescription drugs like carbamazepine or even minor surgery.

2. Pain Of Dental Origin

Patients do not realize that pain from their teeth can be referred to their eyes, cheeks and head. Decay in the tooth which has reached the pulp can be excruciatingly painful. It is aggravated by applying pressure to it and on temperature changes caused by food intake.

Another cause could be an erupting third molar. Our third molars (wisdom teeth) are commonly found erupting in uncommon positions. This can result in pain, swelling, pressure on the neighboring structures and the development of an abscess. It will require specialized x rays to identify the cause and then provide appropriate treatment.

3. Sinus Infection

Our sinuses are lined by an extremely sensitive membrane which starts to produce excess mucus as soon it gets infected. Stuffy nose, heavy head, painful and tender skin over the sinuses are some of the symptoms that a patient will face. Pain on sudden change in position and on blowing the nose is also one of the classical signs of sinusitis. Treatment with decongestants, anti allergic medication and antibiotics if necessary will be helpful.

4. Joint Pain

The TemperoMandibular Joint (TMJ) can get inflamed and painful due to trauma, infection, habits like grinding of teeth or an imbalanced occlusion. This joint has a lot of moving parts and many ligaments, muscles and cartilages are attached to it. The pain with this joint can become chronic if it is not assessed at the right time.

5. Tumor

A cancerous growth in the region of the head, particularly close to the brain, can apply pressure on the nerves causing pain to be caused where no other reason seems apparent. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for are fainting spells, vomiting, headaches for no apparent reason, blurring of vision and decreased appetite.

Your dentist will examine your occlusion to see whether it has become traumatic or not and could then advise realignment of teeth, removal of teeth or the use of oral splints to help ease the load on the joint.

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