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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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lower jaw pain, trigeminal neuralgia
Posted by: Charles
Date: January 21, 2001 8:52 PM

I have severe lower jaw pain and have been told it was trigeminal neuralgia. What causes and what treatment is there?

RE: lower jaw pain, trigeminal neuralgia
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: January 21, 2001 10:54 PM

The usual cause is a cavitation which has expanded to impinge on the trigeminal nerve. Cavitations are like cavities, except they are in the jaw bone instead of the teeth. A cavitation almost always develops after a tooth extraction or a root canal. Dentists use epinephrin to prevent bleeding. This cuts off the blood supply to the surrounding bone, and when bacteria enter the bone through the torn tissue from the extraction (or the drill in the case of a root canal) there is no blood flow to wash them out. They set up shop and form a cavitation and exist in your jaw bone for the rest of your life. Usually they are simply hidden sources of generalized toxicity, but if they become large enough to impinge on the fifth cranial nerve (the trigeminal), then this calls attention to the problem. You have to find an oral surgeon who understands all this and unfortunately there are few of them as the phenomenon has only recently been recognized. If you can come to Santa Rosa, we can fix you up. The cavitation has to be drilled out and allowed to bleed profusely and then heal unless is it small and then it can be handled with a laser.

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