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Trigeminal neuralgia/tooth ache after root canal - has anyone had a root canal repeated?

(16 Posts)
Thomasthetank Fri 21-Mar-14 17:37:31

Hi, I've recently been diagnosed with possible trigeminal neuralgia by my GP after suffering electric shock type pains in the left hand side of my face/gums/teeth and am being referred to a neurologist because of my age (40). The neuralgia symptoms have occurred for about a year but have worsened recently and I've been started on Carbamazepine.

I had root canal on a second premolar tooth at the start of the year, the tooth was very painful prior to the treatment and took a long time to settle afterwards. For the last week the tooth has been constantly throbbing, aching and my gum around the tooth has been stinging. Tapping the tooth, cleaning my teeth and eating/talking is painful. It is a different pain to the electric shock type trigeminal pain I get in my face. I went back to the dentist today who x-rayed the tooth and couldn't see anything wrong with the original root canal treatment or any signs of infection.

I've now got the choice of paying £600-800 (which we don't have at the moment) for a private dental specialist to assess my tooth and repeat the root canal to see if it makes any difference. Alternatively my NHS dentist can either extract the tooth or have a go at repeating the root canal herself although she doesn't think there is anything she could do differently to the tooth. I don't want to extract the tooth if there's a chance the neuralgia could be causing the pain but I also don't want to be in constant pain from this tooth which is far worse than the neuralgia pains.

Has anyone had a second premolar removed? I'm worried it will be really obvious that it's missing and I don't really want to start messing about with the healthy, non-problematic teeth either side to have a bridge put in.

Any advice would be really appreciated.

To be honest I wouldn't let the dentist anywhere NEAR your teeth, and certainly not before you have discussed it with the Neuro.If anything it sounds like your medication dose needs to be upped..a lot... to see if that dampens the pain.

It sounds VERY likely to be related to the TN.. TN can have a severe constant pain as well as the shocks..mine did. I had three teeth unneccesarily removed before we realised.

Carbamazapine made me sick so I was switched to Gabapentin (which worked thank god) but I had to be on a HUGE dose to get all the pain..shocks, burning, sensitivity under control..I'm on a permanent maintenance dose now.

I recently had to have a minor filling and even that sparked the TN back up and I had to up the meds again. If the dentist can't see a reason for repeating the root canal (and personally I believe messing about with the face unless vital is a bad idea) I would see the GP..ask for more/different meds (to give you an example at my worst I was on 3600mg a day of Gabapentin..a HUGE dose) and try treating the pain that way first.

Hope it improves soon.. I am terrified of mine returning fully.

ukatlast Sat 22-Mar-14 01:05:06

In your shoes I would try the private root canal retreatment. It has worked for me in the past. Make sure you go to an endodontist using a microscope though.
As Medusa said I wouldn't have an extraction though as it could be the trigeminal neuralgia causing the problem.

I would not be willing to sit around for months for an NHS neurology referral with extreme tooth pain. The retreat might bring instant relief. A decent endodontist should have a view on whether trigeminal neuralgia is involved. They will definitely know more about teeth than a neurologist.

ukatlast Sat 22-Mar-14 01:06:12

Imagine how annoyed you will be if the tooth is extracted and the pain is still there. Horrible situation - hope you get sorted soon.

ukatlast Sat 22-Mar-14 01:08:39

Could you see a neurologist quickly privately to get appropriate drugs?

Thomasthetank Sat 22-Mar-14 11:06:26

Thanks for your advice, it's really helped. Medusa, I didn't realise you could get a constant severe tooth ache pain in just one place from the trigeminal problem, I thought it was just the stabbing aching pains. That makes sense now. Maybe I never needed root canal in the first place! The last thing I want to do is have expensive root canal work repeated without ruling out it being caused by the trigeminal neuropathy first. UK, you're right about paying for the work and still being in pain after, I keep thinking of all the things I could buy for my children instead.

My Carbamazepine is 100 mgs twice a day for this week, I'm due back next week and she will up the dose for me. I need to be on at least 800 mgs a day to help with the trigeminal pain according to the leaflet in the box. So far I haven't had any side effects such as nausea other than feeling slightly drowsy at times (I tried Amitriptyline for a month which made me groggy and the Carbamazepine makes me feel less so) so I'm hoping I can up it to the 800 mgs fairly quickly. I'll also ask about the Gabapentin as that will be the next thing to try if the Carbamazepine doesn't work.

I'm not sure how long my neurology appointment will take, the referral is due to my age as my GP says I'm too young at 40 to have constant attacks of pain. Medusa, what symptoms did you get before you managed to get them under control with meds? It's getting so I daren't go out in the wind etc because it will flare up again. I've read about operations but the risks= of things going wrong sounds

Thomasthetank Sat 22-Mar-14 11:17:02

Also meant to say that my problems with the trigeminal neuropathy first flared up after a bout of severe sinusitis requiring antibiotics and having two large deep fillings replaced in my upper wisdom teeth. We moved house and I had to leave my lovely Denplan private dentist behind (I did debate if I could drive 140 miles back for check ups!). We swapped to an NHS dentist in the area who told me I needed the two fillings replaced. He did the numbing injections and fillings very quickly, in fact he started straight after the injection when I wasn't yet numb and I was in and out in six minutes. I'm sure that this rushed dental work has contributed to the problems with my trigeminal nerve. I've since changed dentist to a lovely NHS one who takes her time and did the root canal work before I was diagnosed with the trigeminal neuropathy. Will have to see what the neurologist thinks.

2kidsintow Sat 22-Mar-14 17:23:11

Hi, Thomas. I have TN and it first showed up as tooth pain. I had a tooth extracted in the end, then was confused when the pain kept on coming back. 2 separate dentists confirmed that it wasn't my teeth and that's when I went to the GP.

100mg of carbamazepine is far too low to get comprehensive pain relief. You should see some improvements when you up your dose. Take care about doing it slowly though as the side effects can be horrible.

I had to come off that drug because of the side effects and swap to gabapentin, which is working for me.

I was still getting terribly, agonisingly sore and sensitive teeth and bought a mouth guard as I thought I might be grinding them, or that my bite may have changed as a result of the extraction and that this was the cause of the pain.

Nope - as soon as the gabapentin started tackling my face pain properly (almost completely) then the sensitivity in my teeth died away to nothing.

Good luck with the referral. I saw my neurologist privately as I didn't want to wait, and had an MRI/MRA yesterday to look for abnormalities/compression of the nerve. Most times the pain isn't caused by treatments, but the treatments are done as a result of the pain starting and us seeking medical help. You said that you needed 2 fillings replacing - was this because of pain or because your dentist thought they needed it on looking at them?

Gremlingirl Sat 22-Mar-14 17:27:59

Do painkillers touch the pain at all? I ask because I had a attack of trigeminal neuralgia a few years ago and that was one of the things that pointed to it being TN rather than toothache. Because TN is nerve-related, normal painkillers (I was mainlining ibuprofen!) don't tend to do anything.

I had the shocks..but first mine started with a sort of deep ache in my teeth that sort of burned ..along the facial nerve, and ended smack where the nerve ends mid retrospect that was a clue it wasn't 'just teeth' but if FELT like teeth.

My dentist couldn't find a major problem but decided to remove a slightly cracked tooth..the pain stayed.. then another... you get the picture.

I was in almost constant pain with stabs on top.,. it was incredibly grim. Amazingly it was my GP who first realised..she'd just been to a conference on nerve pain.. and she had me on first carbamazopine, then gabapentin even before I saw the neuro.

As I said.. it took a huge dose to get it under control for me, and even now (and we are talking 5 years later) I have to maintain a lowish dose and up it at the first sign. Cold winds can still trigger it and ANY dental problems or work spark it up. I am now missing several teeth (thankfully at the back but you can see if I really grin) and can't risk a bridge or implant as it is almost certain to spark the TN up.. sad

Once you have enough medication in your system I'm willing to bet your tooth pain will vanish.

Oh and the weird side effects of massive doses do wear off... though I was VERY spaced out for a while!!

2kidsintow Sat 22-Mar-14 18:35:46

In part, I'm glad I was a wimp. I was offered the choice of root canal or extraction and opted for the extraction as it was quicker, wouldn't be seen if I smiled and it was a tooth that had been very damaged when I was younger.
If I'd had the root canal, I'd have been going back to the dentist and being in the same dilemma as you.

Don't re-do the root canal.

As for a wait on the neurologist - it really depends as to where you are and whether the GP has flagged it as urgent referral.

I paid to go private. It gave me peace of mind because my neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and gave me a second opinion about my medication and dosage. In England, they are supposed to have seen you AND done any initial investigations - e.g. the MRI/MRA scans they should refer you for - within 18 weeks. Here in Wales it can be a 26 week wait just for the initial appointment.

Thomasthetank Sun 23-Mar-14 15:49:23

Thanks everyone, the Gabapentin sounds well worth a try if i get no relief with the carbamazepine. Normal pain killers don't touch the pain, even hospital strength Ibuprofen and codeine etc prescribed by dentist. The amitriptyline took the edge off the pain so that i could concentrate on other things for some of the day rather than than agonising pain but I was too knocked out on a low dose even after a month. I didn't have any pain until i was told the wisdom teeth fillings needed replacing. I'm back at my gps this week so will try to get the referral as urgent rather than routine. I'm definitely not doing anything to my teeth!

Thomasthetank Sun 23-Mar-14 15:52:15

Medusa, that's exactly what i was trying to explain to my dentist. I'm sitting here now and my teeth at the front of my mouth are burning, coupled with intermittent stabbing pains. Burning teeth is a really hard thing to describe.

Dodgeball Thu 05-May-16 07:16:05

I just started having an excruciating burning/tearing feeling in my back lower gum. I ended up going to the endodontist for a root canal, which was two days ago. The nerve pain is still there.

I'm trying to figure out if this is TN related or teeth related. I only get the pain when I try to drink and eat---seems like moving my tongue Around the area triggers the pain inside my mouth. Sometimes talking. I'm at the point where I have to pretty much drink from a straw to eat soup or shakes and drink, which helps a little....or endure the pain.

Does this sound like TN?

Draylon Thu 05-May-16 09:30:32

Yes, I think it might.

I had 2 fillings removed and replaced for 'sensitivity' + 'toothache', to no avail. I have heard of some people getting up to six fillings etc done trying to cure the pain, to then discover it's TGN.

So, next stop is your GP who might put you on Gabopentine or Carbomazepam (sp?) then maybe a neuro referral.

Bets of luck, TGN is horrible, but, if it's any help, I was in agony for the best part of a year, then the pain receded to the occasional dull ache, so I am 'in remission'- but I do have a lower 8 temporary filling (one of the remove/replace ones) that is crumbling that'll need permanently refilling which I am very nervous about!

ootsideinbacktaefront Thu 05-May-16 09:36:53

It's really comments for people to get lots of extraction etc.. Before a diagnosis of T. A.

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