Woman loses teeth after misdiagnosis

Ann Eastman, 71, suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition which is caused by damaged nerves in the face. The pain she suffers mimics a very severe case of toothache, and due to its rarity the condition can go undiscovered for a long time.  Generally, older people develop the condition although it can be found in people of any age.  It occurs when the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for biting and chewing movements as well as sensation in the face, becomes squashed, often by the expansion of nearby blood vessels.

When Mrs Eastman began to experience this pain she went to see her dentist who took x-rays of her mouth.  As nothing obvious showed up on the x-rays her condition was initially put down to “something happening” under a crown she had on the right hand side of her face.  She had the crown removed but had no relief from her symptoms.  Mrs Eastman returned to her dentist who referred her to see a specialist.  The specialist determined that the tooth which had been crowned had a problem with its nerves and needed to be removed.  Even after the tooth had been removed Mrs Eastman was still in intense pain.

She suffered another painful episode of trigeminal neuralgia over the Christmas period last year and had another tooth removed by a new dentist.  Mrs Eastman attended an appointment with another specialist and whilst she was there had another episode of trigeminal neuralgia.  The specialist recognised her symptoms and started her on medication.  Mrs Eastman’s symptoms are currently controlled by her medication although there are surgical options for treatment if the pain worsens.  Mrs Eastman is just glad to have found an explanation for her symptoms.

Patrick Oliver, medical negligence solicitor at Swain & Co Solicitors says,

“In cases of rare conditions diagnoses can sometimes be hard to make.  However, care should always be taken in complex cases to ensure a correct diagnosis before treatment with long-term effects is carried out.  It is pleasing to note that Mrs Eastman has now had a correct diagnosis and is receiving treatment for this painful condition”.

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