…It stings like a viper. Proverbs 23:32
When the pains of trigeminal neuralgia began to invade my body, I thought it was a tooth. I knew nothing of cranial nerves and had never known anyone who has facial pain. Besides that, it felt like a tooth gone wild, a tooth with a evil in its pulp.
If you’ve experienced this sensation, then you know what it’s like to wonder what in the world has happened. Many people have root canals or a tooth removed trying to “fix” the pain. Often times, though, more dental work makes the pain worse.
Having no name for the pain makes it difficult to explain the severity of it to others. It’s common to be frustrated with others’ lack of understanding. What’s even more universal is for someone to be upset with the individual who is experiencing trigeminal neuralgia or another type of neuropathic facial pain.
In the earliest days of TN, my (ex) husband told me that if I would just gargle with Listerine, the pain would subside. He may sound like a cruel man, but he’s not. He simply didn’t understand.
The very act of swooshing something around in the mouth caused my own pain to get worse. It hurt because an unhealthy trigeminal nerve can be disturbed by facial movement. And until a person has had this disorder, facial movement (smiling, talking, chewing, etc.) isn’t something we think about. It’s automatic and painless.
The pain caused by these simple activities is impossible for someone else to understand, at first that is. After all, it’s difficult to comprehend even if you’re the person who is experiencing it. Spouses, family, and friends need time to process what’s happening to the person they love. Education is a key.
One key to dental hygiene is finding products that don’t contain alcohol. It can cause a terrible sting, worse than a viper. If you are looking for a way to accomplish daily oral health activities, there are several brands of alcohol-free mouthwash. That doesn’t mean that swooshing isn’t going to hurt, though. Be careful, and take good care.