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The Trigeminal Nerve

I have read some pretty detailed explanations of the trigeminal nerve and they only served to confuse me even more. I am going to try to explain it in a way that is far easier to understand.

If you look at the entire nervous system only about 20% of the input to the brain comes from the spinal column! The other 80% comes from twelve sets of cranial nerves. Here is where it gets tricky. 70% of that 80% comes from the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is important because it provides nerve stimulation to some very important parts of the head and face such as:

  • The muscles that move the jaw
  • The lining of the sinuses
  • The temporal mandibular (TM) joints
  • The teeth
  • The muscle that tenses the ear drum
  • The joint that connects the teeth to the jaws
  • The control of the blood flow to the anterior (front) of the brain.
  • The tongue
  • The ear canal

Take a good look at this list…how many of you have complaints of ear problems? Tooth aches? Sinus problems? Migraines? Jaw Pain? How many of you have been to multiple doctors and have been told that there was “nothing” wrong?

The trigeminal nerve has three branches

  • Ophthalmic nerve
  • Maxillary nerve
  • Mandibular nerve

The trigeminal nerve root where these three branches meet, can be found next to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and some of the nerves pass around or through the TMJ. Damage or irritation to these nerves as well as muscle trigger points can cause a host of painful conditions.

Did you know?
We have heard from some of our members that changes in hormone levels, along with stress and sleep deprivation, weather changes, and alcohol will sometimes trigger the trigeminal nerves to start firing off.

4 thoughts on “The Trigeminal Nerve”

  1. Ever since I had an tooth implant I have had a constant drip from that area of the implanted tooth. I had it checked with a Oral Surgeon numerous times. They tell me that a sinus has not been punctured. I am wondering now if it has to do with a nerve that might have been affected. I suffer with this everyday for the last three years.

  2. Thank you for providing such a useful site! I look forward to reading the information from fellow sufferers and ” hope” that I strengthen my pain management and learn to have a better attitude towards it. Best regards Carole x

  3. I was born with a malformed, shortened condylar neck and TMJ ligaments, etc. As a result, the opposite “healthy” TMJ has a perforated disk/severe ligament damage since it pops out every time I open my mouth. My jaw muscles have had to act as the missing bone would. This feels as bad as it sounds. I have had maxillofacial surgery (internal) and external “clean-up” surgery. I’ve had all of my teeth crowned and root canaled to equilibrate my bite. I have had a history of ear/throat/teeth pain, frequent sinus infections (2 sinus surgeries), and chronic migraine headaches. Obviously, jaw/neck pain as well. I know the trigeminal nerve is involved in this very severe pain syndrome in my face and skull. I am really wondering if joint replacement is an option to help with this nerve pain. I am 46 and had a complete hysterectomy (no ovaries) 6 yrs. ago. I recently stopped HRT. Now, in full hormonal menopause, I am in the worst pain of my life. I am dizzy, and have mental confusion which is also a symptom of trigeminal neuralgia. ANY advice, or experience would be greatly appreciated. I am a very tough woman, (I’ve had no choice), but this is almost more than even I can bear. Thanks so much.

    P.S. Finding a dentist/Dr to really help me is NOT easy, and I’m still looking.

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