In 2010, just five years after graduating from the University of Utah and just three years into her marriage, Jessica Gleim started to experience pain across the left side of her jaw and teeth. And this after a lifetime of dentists raving about her “great teeth.” At her dentist’s firm suggestion, she went to see an endodontist, a doctor who specializes in root canals.
“I finally couldn’t take it anymore. They told me to pick a tooth and they drilled. It ended up being an unnecessary root canal.”
Even after that excruciating yet avoidable procedure, the pain remained. In fact, in a shocking turn of events, her localized pain evolved. It moved from her teeth and jaw to shooting pain radiating up into her eye socket, temple, cheek. Within 10 days of her root canal, the tooth pain was back, and coming from the exact same tooth! Jessica promptly returned to the endodontist, and was told she was instead experiencing phantom tooth pain. A diagnosis that did nothing to help her address her suffering. And like most patients struggling with pain, with no relief in sight, she took her health into her own hands.
“I had been doing research and discovered a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. I finally went to see my general practitioner. She said it was a 'possibility' and sent me to see a neurologist and to get an MRI.”