Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain condition typically caused by damage or disease affecting the nervous system. Based in Los Angeles, Dr. Bruce Vafa DDS. MSc., a specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Pain and Oral Diseases, offers an extensive understanding of this disorder and its relationship with oral health.
Understanding Neuropathic Pain Disorder
Neuropathic pain arises when there’s an injury or malfunction in the nervous system. This type of pain differs from the usual pain messages carried along healthy nerves from damaged tissue that might result from a burn or a cut. It often manifests as a shooting or burning pain, and can be unprovoked or triggered by events that are typically not painful, such as brushing your teeth.
Neuropathic Pain and Oral Health
Neuropathic pain disorders can have a significant impact on oral health. Trigeminal neuralgia, a severe facial pain disorder, is one example of neuropathic pain. It is characterized by intense, stabbing bouts of pain in the lower face and jaw or around the nose and eyes. Other oral conditions such as burning mouth syndrome or atypical facial pain can also be considered as part of neuropathic disorders.
Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain
Common symptoms include spontaneous burning or shooting pain, an increased sensitivity to touch, or a sensation of numbness, tingling, or weakness. Symptoms might be constant or intermittent, and can vary widely in severity. In the context of oral health, patients might experience pain when speaking, chewing, or brushing their teeth.
Diagnosis and Treatment by Dr. Bruce Vafa
Dr. Vafa’s approach to diagnosing neuropathic pain involves a thorough examination and review of the patient’s medical history. Depending on the symptoms, Dr. Vafa may use specific diagnostic tests to assess nerve function. Following a diagnosis, Dr. Vafa develops a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan that can include medications, lifestyle modifications, and therapeutic interventions to manage the disorder.