Objective: To report the incidence of trigeminal neuropathy seen among new patients in a referral center within a period of 1 year (2013). The cause of damage, method of management and treatment outcome was assessed after 1-year follow-up.
Materials and methods: The records of all new patients visiting the oral and maxillofacial unit of the University hospital of Leuven in 2013 were screened for a history of damage to branches of the trigeminal nerve. The selected records were examined and the duration of nerve damage, received treatment as well as the outcome of the neuropathy after treatment was noted after 1-year follow-up.
Results: 56 patients (21 males, 35 females) from 7602 new patients had symptoms of damage to the trigeminal nerve branch. These symptoms persist in more than one-third of the patients [21/56 (37.5 %)] after 1-year follow-up. The least recovery is seen from oral surgery, implant placement, orthognathic surgery and tooth extraction. After 1 year 85 % (12/14) of neuropathic pain cases still have their symptoms as compared to 19 % (5/26) of patients with hypoesthesia.
Conclusion: This study shows a low incidence of nerve damage among the new patients presenting in oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic (<1 %); however, one-third of patients who sustain nerve damage never recover fully. Early diagnosis of the cause of neuropathy is essential. There is a need to objectively assess all patients with symptoms of trigeminal nerve damage before, during and after treatment.
Keywords: Dental care; Disease management; Lingual nerve injuries; Mandibular nerve injuries; Sensation disorder.